media release

Another delay in protecting children

The Weatherill Government’s decision to delay debate on its child protection legislation until the end of March is further evidence of a chaotic approach to child protection that is leaving vulnerable children at risk.

“It takes a special type of incompetence not to get the consultation process right during seven months,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“The Weatherill Government received the Nyland Royal Commission’s 260 recommendations on the 5 th of August last year, yet child protection in South Australia remains a complete mess.

“Seven months after being presented with a blue print as to how to reform South Australia’s chaotic child protection system Minister Rau is forced to pull the legislation off the notice paper because of widespread anger about the Bill.

“The legislation the Minister brought before the Parliament was woefully inadequate.

The Weatherill Government spent $6 million on a Royal Commission into its chaotic child protection system and then arrogantly ignored Commissioner Nyland’s edict that the welfare of the child must be at the heart of the system.

“The Weatherill Government’s legislation was designed to shield the government from legal liability to the detriment of protecting children from abuse and neglect.

“It was this fundamental flaw that enraged child protection advocates and drove a raft of Liberal amendments I will move when the legislation is finally debated.

“The Liberal amendments will ensure the best interests of the child are paramount in the legislation and the guiding principle in the interpretation and application of the Bill.

“The amendments include measures to reduce the risk of Female Genital Mutilation and enables the courts to act to protect a child or young person if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they are being taken overseas to be forced into marriage.

“The amendments will also mean the Minister remains the legal guardian of children taken into care.”