Guard­ing our kids Ma­son’s Law fi­nally ar­rives

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DANNI SHAFIK

QUEENS­LAND’S youngest and most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren will be pro­tected from to­day af­ter a long fight to bring in manda­tory re­port­ing laws.

Townsville grand­par­ents John and Sue San­de­man ini­ti­ated the cam­paign af­ter their grand­son Ma­son Parker was killed by his mother’s then- part­ner, Troy Wil­liam Reed, in 2011.

Days be­fore Ma­son’s death, child­care staff ob­served and pho­tographed ex­ten­sive bruis­ing on his body but did not re­port it to au­thor­i­ties.

The new laws will make it manda­tory for early child­hood work­ers to re­port sus­pected cases of child abuse.

Mr and Mrs San­de­man yes­ter­day said it felt bit­ter­sweet to see Ma­son’s Law im­ple­mented.

“Th­ese laws mean our grand­son will be re­mem­bered for­ever by a lot of peo­ple and this leg­is­la­tion will help other lit­tle kids in the fu­ture,” Mr San­de­man said. “I hope Ma­son is proud of what we have done. He was one in a mil­lion.”

Mr San­de­man said the leg­is­la­tion had been a col­lec­tive ef­fort with me­dia, LNP shadow min­is­ter for edu- cation Tracy Davis and Hinch­in­brook MP Andrew Cripps all in­volved.

The changes were made through a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill passed by State Par­lia­ment last year with the Child Pro­tec­tion ( Manda­tory Re­port­ingMa­son’s Law) Amend­ment Act 2016 com­ing into ef­fect from to­day.

The new law ex­tends manda­tory re­port­ing obli­ga­tions to in­clude work­ers in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and care and brings Queens­land into line with other states and ter­ri­to­ries.

Ms Davis said young chil­dren un­der five were still de­vel­op­ing their own voices, re­ly­ing heav­ily on those who cared for them for pro­tec­tion.

“Ma­son’s Law closes off what was an un­ac­cept­able loop­hole,” she said.

“It’s been a long time com­ing for John and Sue San­de­man but we know now that our lit­tle ones here in Queens­land will be bet­ter pro­tected by the strong ad­vo­cacy of th­ese two amaz­ing grand­par­ents.”

Mr Cripps said Ma­son’s Law would sig­nif­i­cantly strengthen the child pro­tec­tion sys­tem: “Ma­son’s law is about tak­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble step to pro­tect chil­dren’s well­be­ing and safety.”

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