September 12, 2017
A light was shone on child safety and domestic violence issues in the South Burnett on Monday with a visit to the region by Queensland MP Ros Bates.
Ms Bates is the Shadow Minister for Communities, Child Safety, Prevention of Domestic Violence, Disability Services and Seniors.
She began her visit by visiting South Burnett CTC, a local not-for-profit private agency that deals with these issues daily.
Ms Bates then dropped into Endeavour Kingaroy to speak to staff and clients there.
She was refused permission to visit staff at the State Government’s South Burnett Child Safety Centre, ostensibly because the Regional Director was working out of Wide Bay.
Ms Bates said this was a pity as she could have passed on praise from South Burnett CTC workers who had told her they had a good relationship with the local Child Safety office, and 100 per cent of 24-hour investigations were seen on time.
As of March, in the Central Queensland region – which includes the South Burnett – 787 substantiated child safety cases had been reported.
In the same region, there are 653 carers on the books.
Ms Bates said the Labor Government had released three reviews recently into child safety, foster care and the Blue Card system.
She said one of these reviews was six months late, and two were three months late.
“Following the tragic deaths of Mason Jett Lee, Tialeigh Palmer, Maddilyn-Rose Stokes and other Queensland children in care, Queenslanders deserve to know that’s going wrong in our child safety system,” Ms Bates said.
“Instead, Labor sits on these reports for months and then releases three in one day to avoid proper scrutiny of the life and death issues they have investigated.”
And, Ms Bates pointed out, these three reports recommended another 21 reviews take place.
Domestic violence is another issue close to Ms Bates’ heart; in a 2015 speech to Parliament she revealed the domestic violence which engulfed her life as a child (see link, below).
She said yesterday that there had been 610 breaches of domestic violence orders recorded in the South Burnett over the past eight months.
“Domestic violence orders are not worth the paper they are written on unless they are enforced,” Ms Bates said.
She said 86 of these breaches had been by perpetrators who have breached orders five or more times.
Ms Bates later joined Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington at an informal lunch with service providers at the Commercial Hotel in Kingaroy where workers could share first-hand information about issues happening in the local community.