Child Protection Committee Hearing

A number of prominent critics of the Weatherill Government’s stalled child protection legislation will appear before a State Parliament Committee today.

The Law Society, the Australian Medical Association and Ms Belinda Valentine will give evidence before the Select Committee on Statutory Child Protection and Care in South Australia.

“I’m urging the Weatherill Government to listen to concerns of the wider child protection community and amend its flawed legislation accordingly,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“Yesterday’s announcement that Helen Connolly will be the State’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People highlights the cost of Government obstinacy in this policy area.

“It is totally unacceptable that it took successive Labor Governments more than a decade to implement Robin Layton’s recommendation to establish a Children’s Commissioner.

“That policy vacuum in South Australia left vulnerable children at greater risk for more than a decade.

“Unfortunately the Weatherill Government’s Child and Young People (Safety) Bill is looking like a repeat of the Children’s Commissioner legislative failure.

“To date the Weatherill Government has accepted just 3 of 61 Liberal amendments moved after the Bill was introduced to Parliament last month.

“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.

“Seven months after being presented with Commissioner Nyland’s 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.

“Once again a lack of genuine consultation has resulted in woefully inadequate legislation being tabled in Parliament.

“It is South Australia’s vulnerable children who will be the losers if the Weatherill Government fails to heed the advice of experts in the sector.”