$36.4 million committed to help keep children safe

Roger Jaensch,Minister for Education, Children and Youth

Keeping Tasmanians safe is the highest priority for the Tasmanian Liberal Government and this starts with safeguarding the rights of all children and young people to have an education, to be heard, and to be kept safe from harm.

The 2022-23 State Budget is about delivering for all Tasmanians and that is why our Government will commit $36.4 million over four years to implement safeguarding measures recommended by Professors Stephen Smallbone and Timothy McCormack in the Independent Inquiry into the Tasmanian Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Inquiry).

Under this plan, Safeguarding Officers will be appointed in every Government school as part of a Support and Wellbeing Team that will plan and implement school strategies to support the wellbeing of students.

Our Government is committing $26.1 million over four years from 2022-23 for the Safeguarding Officers and we will continue supporting these important appointments after 2025-26, with ongoing funding of $9.7 million each year.

Since our Government established the Office of Safeguarding Children and Young People it has been working on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Inquiry, including preparing a detailed proposal for consideration as part of the 2022-23 Budget.

The important work of the Office requires more than four years of funding and that is why we are committing $12 million each year ongoing after the first four years to ensure the Office has the resources it needs to continue its important work.

This support will enable the Office to lead the development of systems, practices, processes and professional learning to make our schools safer, better equipping teachers and principals, and providing more support to children and young people.

The funding package also includes:

  • $2.6 million over four years from 2022-23 for mandatory professional development for all departmental staff in understanding, preventing and responding to child sexual abuse in schools. $600,000 will be allocated each year after the initial four-year funding.
  • $1.27 million over two years from 2022-23 to provide more support for children and young people affected by harmful sexual behaviours, including four full-time equivalent Senior Support Staff with specialist expertise.
  • $3.8 million over four years from 2022-23 to employ additional psychologists and social workers to directly support schools, with $1.68 million per annum in ongoing funding after the initial investment.
  • $2.6 million over three years from 2022-23 to fully staff the Office of Safeguarding Children and Young People to meet the demands of the work required to support all safeguarding-related activity across the Department.

In addition, a further $760,000 over two years (2022-23 and 2023-24) has been allocated to the Teachers Registration Board to engage up to three full-time equivalent additional staff to support the investigation of complaints and disciplinary processes, commencing as soon as possible.

This funding package will support the direction and work that is needed to embed a culture where child safety is everybody’s responsibility, while providing practical training, clear lines of responsibility and support where it is most needed.

This is a Government with integrity and heart, and we are fully committed to safeguarding the future of Tasmanian children and ensuring our schools are safe places to learn.

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