Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for EDUCATION, Ms COURTNEY
The full report for the inquiry into sexual abuse in the State public public school system was received by your department nearly five months ago, and only released through right to information. On the same day, you tabled the summary in here. It reveals some record of concern about more than 40 current employees, including at least three principals, with half potentially requiring further investigation.
The question Tasmanian parents are asking is, how safe are Tasmanian students in our public schools?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I can provide her, the general community, and the parents of young people who are at each of our schools that, as the minister responsible, I will take every step possible to ensure our children are safe.
That is my commitment. That is what we are seeking to do by taking this step of having this independent inquiry. It is why this Government took action with the commission of inquiry. We recognised that we needed to ensure that these matters were appropriately and thoroughly investigated by the right bodies, with the appropriate powers to ensure we can take informed action. We can report that to the Tasmanian community, and we can have those assurances into the future.
This is the Government that has taken action. I know this is very confronting. I am the minister responsible; I accept that. Today, I can ensure that I take every step possible, with my colleagues, to ensure that children are kept as safe as possible.
As I have outlined, I am advised that appropriate action has been taken by the secretary of the Department of Education to review and action any immediate risks to children and young people in Tasmanian government schools that are identified by the report. This included reviewing all known historic allegations of child sexual abuse made against the current employees identifiable in the report to ensure appropriate action was taken.
I have already outlined that the reviewers were given open access to department files and, as part of the secretary's review of the historic allegations, each matter has been reviewed in turn, and a decision made about what further action needs to be taken.
I can assure the House that I and the secretary of the Department of Education take the safety of our children seriously, and will ensure that any allegations that come to us are appropriately dealt with.