Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Human Services spokesperson
Today’s Productivity Commission Report on Government Services (RoGS) again highlights the Rockliff Government’s appalling child safety record.
Tasmania is by far the poorest performing jurisdiction in the nation – despite changes to Government practices that obscure the true extent of the problem.
Shamefully, the Productivity Commission confirms the already dire situation in child safety is getting rapidly worse.
The child protection services data shows well over half of child safety investigations in Tasmania take 29 days or more to start –,three and a half times the national average.
We also have the worst record for the highest priority cases, with the rate of investigations starting in less than 7 days nearly three times lower than the national figures.
It’s the same troubling story for the completion of investigations. Tasmania is taking more than three months to complete almost two thirds of investigations, and only managing to complete one in eight investigations within four weeks.
This is worse than every other state and territory, and significantly below national averages. Far from making progress on child safety, the data tells a story of a system that is so under-resourced and sluggish it’s accelerating in reverse, increasing the risk of life and death mistakes.
These figures don’t even tell the full story of the dangerous delays in the child safety system. Since July 2020, the Government’s method for reporting this data has changed to exclude the time taken by the Advice and Referral Line (ARL) to consider a report of an at-risk child.
For example, if someone contacts the ARL about a child and it takes two weeks for the matter to be assessed, then Child Safety Services take another three weeks to start their investigation, the official figures will say the investigation took three weeks to start. It wouldn’t report the true five-week delay since the initial report was made.
For a child at risk, it’s irrelevant whether it’s the Advice and Referral Line or Child Safety Services looking into a case. Any delay is a delay that could contribute to longer exposure to risk - and the government data should reflect that.
The Liberals might think it’s clever to making their child safety performance look a bit better by messing with crucial reporting measures. Even with their spin and tricky games, however, Tasmania still has the worst record in the nation, and things are getting worse.
These are some of the most vulnerable children in Tasmania. What low does the State need to reach for the Rockliff Government to understand it needs forget its unaffordable stadium folly, and prioritise the welfare of children and young people?