Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Child Protection

The Hon. S.L. GAME (14:49): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development representing the Minister for Child Protection on the protection of children in state care.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: As reported on page 1 of today's Advertiser, two young boys, agedĀ 13 and 14, were allegedly sexually abused by a man infected with HIV while under the care of the child protection department. It's been reported that the two boys were street kids who regularly went missing from their state care premises and were plied with drugs and abused at this man's house in the city. The journalist notes that this is at least the sixth time since May this year that reports of child sexual abuse have occurred while under the watch of the Department for Child Protection.

Our Premier has previously stated that his main concern is that there could be vulnerable children out there who the government is unaware of, who are being subject to criminal neglect. Despite this concern, only the crossbench saw fit to support an amendment to the Child and Young People (Safety) Act that would enshrine proper resourcing for the Child and Young Person's Visitor to carry out the bare minimum recommended number of visits, being four per year for each child in state care. My questions to the minister representing the Minister for Child Protection are:

1. What actions are you taking and are aware the government is taking by way of a whole-of-government approach to this most serious area of government responsibility?

2. If the government is serious about the protection of vulnerable children, will the Minister for Child Protection be advocating to the Premier to remove her portfolio responsibility of recreation, sport and racing in order to concentrate her focus on the much more significant issues of child protection and domestic violence?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:51): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am sure all of us were appalled by the alleged incidents that occurred and the terrible abuse which is being reported. I will certainly refer the question to the relevant minister in the other place and return to the chamber with an answer.