What Has The Henderson Government Got To Hide On Child Protection?

What Has The Henderson Government Got To Hide On Child Protection?

Northern Territory Shadow Minister for Child Protection Robyn Lambley

No Time To Waste On Child Protection Reform

Victor P Taffa

The decision by the Henderson Government to reject Country Liberals legislation to give the Children’s Commissioner real powers brings into question Labor’s commitment to reform the child protection system.

Shadow Minister for Child Protection Robyn Lambley said the Country Liberals want to strengthen the Commissioner’s Watchdog Powers to allow him to better investigate the Government’s performance in the delivery of child protection services.

“Given their track record of failing to protect children at risk of abuse and neglect over the past 10 years, and the release of the damning Growing them stronger, together report, it is very surprising this Government has not supported our amendments to the Act.” Ms. Lambley said.

“Under our amendments, the Children’s Commissioner would have had the power to keep the Government truly accountable and reforming the system in line with the recommendations outlined in the Growing them strong, together report.”

The reforms, based on recommendation 136 of the report, would give the Commissioner:

‘Own Motion’ Powers to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect;
• Advocacy and complaint management responsibilities to protect the well-being of vulnerable children;
• Specific powers to obtain documents;
• A broader oversight role in monitoring Territory Government decisions.

“The intention of this Bill is deliver real powers of investigation and real independence to the Children’s Commissioner.” Ms. Lambley said.

“The Government’s refusal to support these recommendations bears closer scrutiny.”

“Already Labor has broken its promise to implement the priority recommendations from Growing them stronger, together.” Ms. Lambley said.

“Supporting these amendments would have sent a very strong message to the workers involved in delivering child protection services that things are going to change. Unfortunately under Labor, it doesn’t appear that is the case.”

“The Opposition will continue to work to hold this Government to account to ensure children in the Northern Territory are receiving proper care and their well-being is protected.” Ms. Lambley said.