Guarding our kids Mason’s Law finally arrives
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.”