Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 15, 2023


Foster and Kinship Care Inquiry

The Hon. S.L. GAME (14:42): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Primary Industries about child protection in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: In January this year, the child protection minister made a public statement and promised to review the outcomes of the Independent Inquiry into Foster and Kinship Care. She stated:

We wholeheartedly acknowledge that foster and kinship carers are deeply concerned about the Inquiry into Foster and Kinship Care's capacity for independence. We hear you.

South Australian Labor is committed to ensuring that carers are heard. At the conclusion of the inquiry, South Australian Labor will seek the views of carers and should carers voice that a review of the inquiry's findings and recommendations is warranted, Labor will seek to establish such a review.

The Carer Council was a key recommendation of the Independent Inquiry into Foster and Kinship Care, designed to amplify the voices of carers and provide the minister with independent advice that contributes through a form of foster and kinship care in South Australia. However, the legislative review of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act closed for feedback on 11 November 2022.

My understanding is that the feedback closed more than a month before carers received the report from the Independent Inquiry into Foster and Kinship Care on 15 December 2022. Carers therefore were not provided with the opportunity to consider the outcomes of the inquiry and make well-considered submissions for the legislative review based on those outcomes. My questions to the minister are:

1. Why didn't the minister consult with all the carer community as per the statement of commitment to seek their input for establishing the Carer Council and why did the minister refuse to provide carers with the promised review of inquiry outcomes?

2. Will the minister revisit the report for the legislative review of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 with carers prior to completing the draft legislation and provide carers the extension they had previously requested so they can also make submissions based on the inquiry outcomes?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:44): I thank the honourable member for her question. I'm happy to refer it to the Minister for Child Protection in the other place and bring back a response.