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Government putting spin above safety in release of shocking child safety data

Tasmania’s child safety response times are among the worst in the country, more than half of all investigations take more than three months to complete and the number of cases that are substantiated stands at a staggering 80 per cent.

Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years Josh Willie said Tasmania’s data from the Report on Government Services released today also shows 24 children in the care of the government were subject to sexual, physical, emotional abuse or neglect.

“In the absence of the Minister responsible for Child Safety Sarah Courtney who is holidays, Minister Roger Jaensch has done his best to spin this information and convince Tasmanians that everything is fine,” Mr Willie said.

“But if the Liberal Government thinks this data is OK, that tells Tasmanians everything they need to know about their approach to child safety.

“The government cannot seriously expect Tasmanians to accept that it is OK that our response times for investigations are still the worst of any state and that a far higher proportion of investigations are substantiated.

“Because of the government reforms, children requiring statutory action deserve a quick response because it is likely the claims will be substantiated. 

“The government should be acting on the fact that 54.5 per cent of investigations take longer than 90 days to be finalised.

“The fact is on Ms Courtney’s watch, Tasmania’s child safety system remains critically under-resourced and workers at the frontline who face one of the most difficult and confronting jobs have been badly let down.

“It’s shocking and unacceptable that clearly the Gutwein Government is not providing frontline child safety workers with the resources they urgently need to ensure all Tasmanian children are safe and all reports of children at risk are able to be investigated in a timely way.

“What is it going to take to make Ms Courtney give Child Safety Service workers the resources they need to perform a difficult job and ensure every Tasmanian child is safe?”

Josh Willie MLC  
Shadow Minister for Education and Early Years