Child Safety 'Spin' strongly questioned

10 Nov 2008 4:02 PMJann Stuckey

The million dollar cost of a team of 10 media managers/handlers in the Department of Child Safety where staff turnover topped one-in-three last year has been strongly questioned by the State Opposition.

LNP child safety spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said Minister Margaret Keech was obviously more interested in “spin than addressing the worst staff attrition rate in the government”.

“Her Department employs a media/pr team of 10, including a director, a media manager, a principal media officer, two senior media officers, two senior communications officers and two communications officers, which with salaries and on-costs would easily run to a million dollars-plus,”
Mrs Stuckey said.

“How can the Minister and this Labor Government justify spending of this scale, when 35 per cent of Child Safety staff resigned last year. That’s
35 per cent, yet during that time the Department’s media unit grew from seven to 10.

“Surely a million dollars would be better invested in the improvement of pay and conditions for frontline child safety officers, who, I’m informed, have impossible caseloads, in some instances as high as 60 vulnerable, at-risk children.

“With such a high staff attrition rate the Minister and indeed the Premier should be redirecting scarce resources into frontline services and doing everything possible to retain experienced and newly recruited staff.”

Mrs Stuckey said the LNP was committed to focusing on the frontline services – attracting and retaining experienced officers.

“As well as being highly rewarding, jobs in frontline child protection are, by their very nature, enormously stressful. Resources should be better directed, for instance, into offering stress management and work-life balance courses and career incentives,” Mrs Stuckey said.

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919
10 November 2008