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Department of Education - Responses to Child Sexual Abuse


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Tags: Commission of Inquiry, Education, Child Safety

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for EDUCATION, Ms COURTNEY

The report of the inquiry reveals a culture of cover-up within the Department of Education that persists to this day. That culture extended to the manner in which the findings of this inquiry were released by your Government, with the summary tables on the same day the ABC received the full document through right to information six months after it was received by the Department of Justice.

In the Government's response to the recommendations Tasmanian parents and students were told it will take more than a year to implement five of the key recommendations designed to keep children and young people safe. Yet, you said a short time ago the Government will work as hard and swiftly as we can. Why is the implantation not an absolute and immediate priority given the risks? Why the inertia? Why can you not, as minister, ensure every recommendation is implemented for systems and people to safeguard students are in place by the staff of the next school year?

 

ANSWER

Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Clark for her question. I too share the member's passion ensuring that these recommendations are implemented as swiftly as possible.

One of the key recommendations was the establishment of the Office of Safeguarding Children and Young People. That happened immediately. That office is leading the work to implement these alongside the implementation of the recommendations from the royal commission and at a point in time where I would expect the Government will see recommendations from the commission of inquiry. With regards to the process and the progress of this, the department has provided assurance that updates will be provided on its website so that people can stay fully informed.

Ms O'Connor, the creation of this role led by Ms Jack and her office directly reporting to the secretary embedded in the office of the secretary of the Department of Education, there is a commitment that these need to be imbedded fully. The statement that was made yesterday by the Department of Education said the Department of Education is committed to continuing to build on previous improvements and embedding positive cultural change that will protect all our children.

Ms O'Connor, I want to ensure with these recommendations that, as you can appreciate, are complex to deliver over a system that is so large. We need, across our thousands of employees, to ensure that these are embedded fully and ensure that this cultural change is embedded across our system, and that is what I will deliver.