Increasing numbers of Tasmanian children are being failed by an unresponsive Gutwein Liberal Government which is taking up to a month to even begin investigations in the vast majority of reported welfare concerns.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Josh Willie said the shock findings of the Report on Government Services released today showed Tasmania is the slowest state in the country to launch child protection investigations under incompetent Human Services Minister Roger Jaensch.
The Productivity Commission report revealed the Gutwein Government took more than 29 days to begin child protection investigations in 78 per cent of reported cases and only 6.9 percent were opened within seven days.
Mr Willie said it in contrast when the Liberals assumed government seven years ago, about 40 per cent of child safety investigations were opened within seven days.
“There’s not a single indication in this report that Gutwein Government has made child safety a priority and under Minister Roger Jaensch the situation is not improving, it is only getting worse,” Mr Willie said.
“The fact that the number of child protection investigations that stretch beyond three months has escalated alarmingly – to almost 73 per cent – is stark evidence that the well-being of Tasmanian children and their families is just not a priority for this government.
“And the fact that almost 90 per cent of reports to child safety were substantiated in the past year shows that it is an area the government must start to take seriously and make a priority immediately.
“But what you have is a Minister who is happy in response to make motherhood statements, claiming the government is committed to child safety and has directed resources into the system when in fact the data shows how ineffectual his management of the portfolio is.
““It’s not OK that we have the slowest response times, it’s not OK that children with concerns about their welfare aren’t being supported and it’s not OK that Roger Jaensch says everything is OK.
“This is a situation that has been steadily deteriorating for seven years, it’s a situation that cannot be blamed on the COVID shutdown because it existed pre-pandemic and it’s a situation that requires an immediate, serious and genuine remedy because the safety of children should be a critical priority of every government.”
Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Minister for Child Safety