5421 WORK­ING WITH KIDS IN QLD WITH NO BLUE CARD

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - SAM BIDEY

MORE than 5000 peo­ple statewide are work­ing with­out a Blue Card un­der the same loop­hole that saw Townsville Year 4 stu­dents al­legedly shown a nude photo by a teacher aide last month.

The La­bor State Gov­ern­ment says it will close a loop­hole al­low­ing peo­ple to work while a Blue Card ap­pli­ca­tion is pend­ing – should it win re- elec­tion – but par­ents are call­ing for all em­ploy­ees await­ing a Blue Card to be stood down im­me­di­ately.

The ac­cused was hired by a Townsville pri­mary school, which can­not be named, with­out a Blue Card be­cause he claimed he had ap­plied for one. The mother of one of the al­leged vic­tims said it was dis­gust­ing that peo­ple were al­lowed to work with­out the card.

“As from right now any­body who doesn’t have a Blue Card should be stood down un­til the law is changed,” she said.

“This should have been the law all along.”

There are 5421 peo­ple statewide in jobs which re­quire work­ing with chil­dren’s checks but their Blue Card ap­pli­ca­tions are still pend­ing.

A Blue Card Ser­vices spokesman said once an ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged, the ap­pli­cant was mon­i­tored through a sys­tem put in place be­tween Blue Card Ser­vices and the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice.

“This con­stant mon­i­tor­ing min­imises risks to chil­dren as it en­ables Blue Card Ser­vices to be im­me­di­ately in­formed of a per­son’s change in crim­i­nal history and al­lows ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to be taken to pro­tect chil­dren from harm,” the spokesman said.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, em­ploy­ers should be reg­u­larly mon­i­tor­ing em­ploy­ees’ per­for­mances, en­gag­ing with them about ex­pected be­hav­iours and re­view­ing their poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to make sure that they are fo­cused on min­imis­ing po­ten­tial harm to chil­dren.”

The mother of one of the chil­dren in­volved in the Townsville school nude im­age scan­dal said no checks had pro­tected her child.

“The ( al­leged of­fender) was em­ployed at the school since May … how could they let him work there for five months with­out a Blue Card?” she said.

“Some­thing needs to be done about this to pro­tect other chil­dren.”

Nei­ther the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones’s of­fice or the LNP have an­swered the par­ents’ call for the 5000 work­ers to be stood down pend­ing the loop­hole clo­sure.

A depart­ment spokesman said: “Given that the state elec­tion has been called and the gov­ern­ment is in care­taker mode, the depart­ment will await the in­struc­tions of an in­com­ing gov­ern­ment re­gard­ing any pol­icy change.”

Op­po­si­tion ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Tracy Davis said peo­ple with­out a Blue Card or the proper checks should not get a job in schools, but did not com­mit to chang­ing the cur­rent pol­icy.

SOME­THING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS TO PRO­TECT OTHER CHIL­DREN THE MOTHER OF A CHILD IN­VOLVED IN THE TOWNSVILLE SCHOOL NUDE IM­AGE SCAN­DAL

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