Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HUMAN SERVICES, Mr JAENSCH
We have information that a senior staff member at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre has recently been stood down and their Working with Vulnerable People card removed. We understand this individual is facing hundreds of claims against them in a civil action, one of which involves an allegation of rape. I am sure you will agree that these are confronting allegations.
Can you provide the House with any detail on the situation and your response as the minister responsible for Children and Young People? Can you provide the families of detainees a reassurance that the young people incarcerated at Ashley are safe?
Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question on this very serious matter.
The safety of children and young people in Tasmania, in our care and in detention or other care settings, is an absolute priority of our Government. We are committed to responding appropriately to all and any allegations of child abuse in our government institutions, whether they relate to historical or current-day matters.
I cannot and will not comment in this place on any allegations that may be the subject of legal proceedings or police investigations. The Department of Communities Tasmania takes all allegations of abuse against children and young people very seriously.
I am advised that allegations against current employees that may have occurred a number of years ago are treated by the department the same way as more current-day allegations. The department undertakes careful and detailed assessment with Tasmania Police, if required, to ensure the immediate safety of children and young people in care or in detention.
The Department of Communities has a documented procedure to respond to historical or current allegations of abuse against current employees of the Department of Communities. This includes working with Tasmania Police and the Registrar for Working with Vulnerable People.
I reiterate, we encourage anyone to come forward if they have information relating to the care and wellbeing of a child or young person and report those concerns so that they can be carefully investigated.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, and I say this with the greatest of respect to the minister. I understand the constraints on you, but perhaps you could confirm or otherwise, the substance of the question, that a senior manager has been stood down and the Working with Vulnerable People card removed in response to a series of allegations.
Mr JAENSCH - I can confirm that a staff member has been stood down pending allegations being investigated fully. I will not provide any further detail regarding the identity or the nature of the matters.