Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for HUMAN SERVICES, Mr JAENSCH
The ABC reports that your office was alerted to these allegations on 15 May, yet you say the first you heard was in a briefing last night. Can you confirm that your office was made aware of these allegations from journalists' queries on 15 May? Further, we have found an employee review online for workers at Total Support Services, and an employee who was employed up until early August last year when Total Support Services started taking on children with disabilities under care and protection orders describes Total Support Services as totally unprofessional, with unqualified management, a poor workplace culture, no training of new staff, job changes without notice and not paid, poor people skills amongst management, and very little induction or managerial support.
First, can you confirm that your office was made well aware of these allegations over a week and, second, are you aware of how apparently poor management is at this organisation?
Madam Speaker, I meet and have discussions with my department on a range of matters every day. My recollection is that the interaction I had with the department last night made reference to a previous care concern that had been raised regarding this provider and investigated and resolved to the satisfaction of the department. There was reference in the briefing last night that the ABC was intending to report allegations of further incidents or concerns that the department had no detailed knowledge of but was actively investigating. I again encourage and urge anyone who thinks they have information they are very concerned with that there may be a child at risk, to report that information to the appropriate authorities. Anybody who has information and anybody who is a mandatory reporter must definitely do that.
Regarding staffing concerns and others, I have said that when we engage specialist providers due diligence processes are undertaken through established procedures by the department and in the case of this provider and its current operations, they have met those requirements in order to be engaged -
Dr Woodruff - No, they didn't.
Mr JAENSCH - If you have other information that goes to the safety of this operator, please provide it. This is what we need to do.
Dr Woodruff - It is online.
Madam SPEAKER - Order.
Mr JAENSCH - If anybody has information that goes to the safety and wellbeing of children, which is of paramount importance, bring it forward as a matter of urgency because the safety of children is our top priority.