Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 16, 2022


Child Protection

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:15): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Primary Industries, representing the Minister for Child Protection and the Minister for Police in another place, a question about child protection.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: Last week, the Premier announced police would check on the homes of 500 children flagged in a top-level report as living in high-risk situations. He said police officers would be drafted in to urgently check on the children identified in a report by former police commissioner Mal Hyde.

Two days later, the current police commissioner, Mr Grant Stevens, revealed only two senior officers had been allocated for an initial period of three months to coordinate the efforts of multiple government agencies to prioritise which of the children will be visited first. At the same time, he said it should be a last resort to send police to the homes of at-risk children, saying the responsibility remains that of the DCP. My questions to the minister are:

1. Does he—and she—believe the two police officers are enough to ensure the 500 children identified as high risk are checked on as a matter of urgency, as promised by the Premier?

2. Are urgent talks underway between SAPOL and the Department for Child Protection to assign more police officers to the task? If not, why not, given the gravity of Mr Hyde's report, which identified 500 children aged under 10 who were the subject of more than 15 reports to authorities and where red flags have been raised in the past six months?

3. Does he/she—both ministers—agree with the Parole Board chair, Frances Nelson KC, who has described the plan as 'another bandaid to a big problem'?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:17): I thank the honourable member for her questions. I will refer them to the ministers in the other place and bring back a response to the chamber.