On 15 September 2021, Hon. Leanne Linard MP, Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, introduced the Child Protection Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 into the Queensland Parliament. In summary, the objectives of this Bill are to better support children and young people in care by:
- reinforcing children’s rights in the legislative framework
- strengthening children’s voices in decisions that affect them, and
- streamlining, clarifying and improving the regulation of care.
The Bill also proposes amendments to the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 to:
- provide a legislative basis for requesting domestic violence information from the Queensland Police Commissioner for the purposes of conducting blue card assessments
- facilitate Queensland’s participation in the Working with Children Check National Reference System —a national database established to enable jurisdictions to identify persons who have been deemed ineligible to work with children in another state or territory
- enable adverse decisions in other jurisdictions to be taken into account in a blue card assessment, and
- simplify and streamline a number of other processes associated with licensed care services discharging their functions and responsibilities in relation to the blue card status of their staff, contractors and sub-contractors.
Following the Bill being referred to Parliament’s Community Support and Services Committee, the Committee tabled its report to Parliament on 12 November 2021. The government has three months from the date of the Committee’s report being tabled to respond to its recommendations. For more information, you are invited to view the 18 written submissions sent to the Committee including PeakCare’s submission, and the transcript of the public hearing at which PeakCare’s Lindsay Wegener appeared as a witness.