The Palaszczuk Government is further strengthening Queensland’s blue card system with eight more disqualifying offences and the introduction of a new Bill legislating the ‘No Card, No Start’ scheme.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government takes the safety of Queensland’s children extremely seriously, illustrated by these tougher measures.
“Blue Cards are one of a range of measures in place across government to protect children,” she said.
“The Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) found our State’s blue card system is one of the strongest working with children check systems in Australia.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to strengthening this system even further, which is why we have set aside $17 million in the 2018-19 State Budget to delivering on our election commitment to the ‘No Card, No Start’ scheme.
“The ‘No Card, No Start’ approach – recommended by the QFCC – will require people working in paid employment to be issued with a Blue Card before they can start work with children, providing a stronger safeguard and building on the blue card system’s long history of mitigating risks to children.”
The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 introduced to Parliament today includes a number of QFCC recommendations, such as:
- a centralised register for recording and reporting on the blue card status of foster and kinship carers, family day educators, stand-alone care providers and adults who reside in these residences;
- require all adult household members of stand-alone care services to hold a blue card; and
- include the Department of Education within the definition of ‘notifiable person’ so that it receives notifications about changes to the blue card status of individual family day care educators and adult household members.
The Palaszczuk Government will also implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission and QFCC to include bestiality, kidnapping of a child, kidnapping for ransom of a child, child stealing and abduction of a child under 16 as disqualifying offences under the Working with Children Act.
Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government had chosen to include murder of an adult and rape of an adult as disqualifying offences as well. Murder of a child and sexual offences against children are already on the list of disqualifying offences.
The blue card system mitigates past, present and future risks to children by:
- screening people working with children and deeming people ineligible to work with children based on their known police or disciplinary information;
- monitoring all Blue Card holders and applicants on a daily basis through an electronic interface with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for changes in their Queensland police information; and
- legislatively requiring child-related organisations to implement policies and procedures to manage risks to children.
- eight more offences will be added to the disqualifying offences list
- more than 2900 cases in 2017-18 were identified by Blue Card Services where individuals who represented a high risk were prevented from working with children
- 32,000 organisations are part of the blue card system
- close to one in six Queensland adults are part of the blue card system