Coroner Olivia McTaggart’s findings into the deaths of seven Tasmanian children in north and north-west Tasmania from 2014 to 2018 show that Tasmania’s child protection system continues to fail children, five years after this Government introduced reforms it claimed would improve conditions.
The Coroner’s report follows on from the release of an evaluation by the University of Tasmania of the government’s Strong Families Safe Kids program launched in 2016, which shockingly found the reforms it was claimed would improve the system have still not been fully implemented.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Sarah Lovell said it is absolutely devastating to read yet another report detailing inadequacies and failings in our Child Safety Services.
“There is no more important responsibility of government than to look after the most vulnerable in our community,” Ms Lovell said.
“However, time and again this government have failed to take these responsibilities seriously. Minister Courtney must take this report seriously and take immediate action on the Coroner’s findings.
“Vulnerable children and young people, as well as their families, deserve better. They deserve a responsive system and one that is able to appropriately identify and respond to cumulative harms to children.
“I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the infants, children and young people whose deaths were considered in this report.
“I also wish to convey my support for the staff in Child Safety Service who do one of the most stressful, challenging and important jobs in the State Service.”
Ms Lovell said it was important the system was properly resourced.
“The child protection system must be properly resourced. The Liberal Government knows that data released by the Productivity Commission just this year showed children at risk of danger were not receiving immediate or even urgent care.
“Minister Courtney and Premier Gutwein know that Tasmania’s performance in child protection is the worst in the country.
“They know that up to 80 per cent of investigations by child protection take a month to even begin and they know the vast majority of investigations take three months to complete.
“That’s because they have continually failed to provide staff who undertake this very difficult job with the resources they require.
“Either the government does not place the importance they should be placing on child protection or they have little idea what they are doing – either way, that is unacceptable.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Minister for Child Safety