Keech withholds details on key child safety staff

21 Oct 2008 10:06 AMJann Stuckey

21 October 2008

Keech withholds details on key child safety staff

The State Opposition has accused the Minister for Child Safety of
withholding vital staff information that former Ministers provided
routinely.

LNP child safety spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said retention and support of
staff was critical to the Department which had a history of low morale
and high staff turnover.

The Opposition asked a simple follow-up question identical to one asked
in 2006 on numbers of full-time and temporary staff working in the
Department of Child Safety.

“The Minister has used spin to deflect an identical question that was
asked two years ago and was answered properly by former Minister, the
Honourable Mike Reynolds,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Minister Keech’s non-answer (to Question on Notice 1228*) is
symptomatic of the Bligh Government’s hidden agenda. One can only
conclude the number of full-time staff and the over-use of temporary
staff to fill child safety positions is as bad as ever.”

Ms Stuckey said she asked the question to gauge the Minister’s adherence
to one of the key recommendations of the Crime and Misconduct
Commission’s inquiry into child protection, to prevent an over-reliance
on temporary staff.

“The use of temporary staff puts children at risk of further harm
because these staff receive no formal induction training and are held to
ransom if they speak out.

“From the limited figures the Minister provided any reasonable person
would conclude that many frontline positions are left unfilled and there
remains a dangerous reliance on temporary staff.”

Ms Stuckey said Minister Keech had made an art form of not answering
basic questions on child safety.

“We were promised open and accountable government under Premier Bligh,
yet all we get is spin. It’s time the Premier instructed Ms Keech to
provide figures on the operational strength of her Department including
the use of temporary and contract staff.”

Ms Stuckey said the LNP was committed to ensuring Child Safety staff
were supported and nurtured in their demanding role of protecting
vulnerable children.

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919