Ma­son’s lov­ing grand­par­ents made all chil­dren safer

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

ON July 1, 2017, changes to the law re­lat­ing to the pro­tec­tion of chil­dren in Queens­land came into force. They re­late to the manda­tory re­quire­ment for child care work­ers to re­port sus­pected cases of child abuse to the Department of Child Safety. This was not pre­vi­ously the case. This change is due to the ef­forts of John and Sue San­de­man.

I first met John and Sue San­de­man in 2013. They live at Black River and are the grand­par­ents of Ma­son Parker. Ma­son was 17 months old when he was bru­tally mur­dered in 2011. It emerged af­ter­wards that child care work­ers had no­ticed in­juries on Ma­son’s body prior to his death, but that this were not re­ported to the department.

These child care work­ers had not broken the law. How­ever, John and Sue started ask­ing ques­tions why, when other manda­tory re­port­ing laws were in place for sim­i­lar pro­fes­sions. One of the peo­ple they ques­tioned was me, as their local MP and that led to a se­ries of events, which re­sulted in this change.

John and Sue col­lected a pe­ti­tion sup­ported by more than 1200 Queens- lan­ders, which I tabled in the Queens­land Par­lia­ment in Fe­bru­ary 2014. We worked with sev­eral min­is­ters in the pre­vi­ous LNP Gov­ern­ment to progress the is­sue through a re­view by the Law Re­form Com­mis­sion. Hard ques­tions were asked and an­swered.

After this lengthy and de­tailed process, the LNP in­tro­duced a pri­vate mem­bers bill into the Queens­land Par­lia­ment to pro­vide for manda­tory re­port­ing of sus­pected cases of child abuse by child care work­ers, which passed in Septem­ber 2016. After a peri- od of prepa­ra­tion by in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment, this law came into force on July 1, 2017.

I’m pleased to have helped John and Sue nav­i­gate their way through this dif­fi­cult process, but their jour­ney has been a long and harrowing one after trag­i­cally los­ing their grand­son Ma­son to a sav­age and bru­tal crime. John and Sue San­de­man should be proud their de­ter­mi­na­tion has changed things for the bet­ter for kids in Queens­land.

AN­DREW CRIPPS, Mem­ber for Hinch­in­brook.

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