Blue Card failings ‘ put kids at risk’
ALMOST 3000 people without a Blue Card are working with children in Queensland as the State Government’s “No Card, No Start” policy is still more than a year away from becoming reality.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP was calling for the Palaszczuk Government to speed up the introduction of more stringent child safety laws but a spokeswoman for the Attorney- General, Yvette D’Ath, anticipated the policy would not be introduced until early 2020.
“There is a gaping loophole in the state’s Blue Card system and Labor’s complete lack of any urgency to close it is putting Queensland kids at risk,” Ms Frecklington said.
“It would send a shiver down the spine of every parent to think there are still almost 3000 adults working with children before they’ve been through critical background checks.”
As of November 5 there were 2917 people working with children in Queensland without a Blue Card; 1417 were new applicants. The overall number is a significant decrease from more than 5400 at the same time last year.
The Government introduced the Working with Children ( Risk Management and Screening) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill last month.
This Bill intends to legislate the “No Card, No Start” policy which the Bulletin exclusively revealed the Government had committed to introducing in the wake of a Townsville primary school scandal.
Ms D’Ath’s spokeswoman said the new legislation must follow the appropriate Parlia- mentary processes to ensure that Queenslanders were given the opportunity to have a say and the bill underwent the scrutiny of the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee.
“With close to one in six Queensland adults and over 32,000 organisations part of the Blue Card system, it is vital to ensure the community is ready for the changes when they go live in early 2020,” she said.
“This will allow for appropriate planning, stakeholder consultation, business case development procurement, database development and technical development testing ahead of its public launch.
“It is important to note that applicants are monitored on a daily basis for changes in their Queensland police information even before a determination has been made by Blue Card Services.”