Premier Weatherill and his Government stand condemned for taking more than two years to deliver critically needed child protection staff.
In a media release on 11 June 2013, Minister Rankine promised a big boost in child protection staff:
“More than 360 full time staff will join Families SA to help, care, protect and look after the State’s most vulnerable children… the next step is to employ professionally qualified staff to provide stability for these children who so desperately need it.”
However, in evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee yesterday, DECD Chief Executive Tony Harrison confirmed that 190 of the 360 staff won’t commence work until August/September this year.
Mr Harrison also confirmed that another 100 or so of these staff would not be approved until early next year.
“It is an absolute disgrace that it will take the Weatherill Government about 2 to 2 ½ years to deliver the promise made in June 2013,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Clearly such an unacceptable delay creates the possibility that vulnerable children have been placed at even greater risk than they should have been.
“Minister Rankine’s promise in June 2013 that ‘more than 360 full time staff will join Families SA’ was clearly designed to lead everyone to believe there would be 360 new and additional staff.
“However, Mr Harrison confirmed yesterday that some of these 360 staff were in fact existing contracted staff who would be converted to full time or permanent staff.
“Mr Harrison couldn’t answer how many of the 360 people were actually new and additional staff.
“Premier Weatherill and his Government must accept responsibility and now explain the reasons for these lengthy delays in appointing critically needed child protection staff.”