The State Liberals are calling on the Weatherill Government to dump plans to force people to apply for a new working with children check before their current check expires.
The Royal Commission recommended legislating to adoption of a new working with children check that requires individuals who want to undertake a child-related employment role to obtain a clearance directly through a screening unit.
“Forcing hundreds of thousands of South Australia’s to apply for a working with children check at the same time would be chaotic and counter-productive,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.
“I’ve no doubt the system wouldn’t cope with such a massive surge in demand for the checks and that the end result would be lengthy waiting times for people needing the new check.
“Forcing everybody to apply for a working with children check would see thousands of people left in limbo for extended periods of times unable to work or coach a kids sports team because of their inability to obtain a clearance in a timely fashion.
“Common-sense needs to prevail here and the current checks should continue to be valid until they expire.”
Commissioner Nyland recommended the legislation should provide for:
• one authorised screening unit for the state; • one clearly defined pathway to obtaining a clearance through the screening unit;
• an employee or volunteer driven system, where clearance cards or unique electronic identification numbers are issued;
• clarity on who must hold a clearance for employees, volunteers and organisations;
• portable clearances across roles within the state;
• a register of all clearances issued;
• a requirement for employers to register the use of a clearance with the Screening Unit, to ensure they can be notified if a clearance is cancelled; and
• offences for both individuals and organisations for failing to comply with the legislation, in particular undertaking child-related employment in the absence of a clearance.