‘Re­veal sys­tem fail­ures’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - PAUL WE­STON

THE LNP says the State Gov­ern­ment must “come clean” and re­veal the sys­tems fail­ure in the lead-up to the death of a nine-month-old baby on the Gold Coast.

Ros Bates, the Op­po­si­tion’s spokesper­son for women, ac­cused the Gov­ern­ment of a “mas­sive lack of lead­er­ship” on child safety and hid­ing be­hind le­gal­i­ties.

“An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk needs to come clean about what the depart­ment knew and what went wrong,” she said.

“There were ob­vi­ous warn­ing signs that this poor lit­tle baby should have been taken into care. Sadly, we have seen far too many deaths and it has to stop.”

The re­lease of the Queens­land Fam­ily and Child Com­mis­sion 2017-18 re­port on the Deaths of Chil­dren and Young Peo­ple Queens­land “paints a grim pic­ture”, she added.

Fif­teen chil­dren have died from as­sault and ne­glect in the past two years and the drown­ing mor­tal­ity rate for chil­dren known to the sys­tem was six times the state av­er­age.

The sui­cide rate for young peo­ple known to the child pro­tec­tion sys­tem in the 12 months be­fore their death was three times the Queens­land av­er­age for all chil­dren.

Chil­dren known to Child Safety had “sud­den un­ex­pected death in in­fancy” rates more than four times those for all chil­dren over the past three years.

Cur­rumbin MP Jann Stuckey said the Gov­ern­ment had failed to en­act cross-border ini­tia­tives which may have saved the baby’s life.

“As a for­mer pae­di­atric nurse and shadow minister for child safety this case has made me feel phys­i­cally ill, and the lack of re­spon­si­bil­ity ex­hib­ited by gov­ern­ment agen­cies as they duck for cover makes me feel even sicker,” she said.

“De­nial and fail­ure to act by Queens­land agen­cies is shame­ful, but the fact there’s a cross-border ini­tia­tive in place sup­pos­edly to en­hance pro­tec­tion of chil­dren in NSW and Queens­land makes the whole tragic case even more in­ex­cus­able.

“Whilst it’s to­tally un­for­giv­able for the Queens­land Depart­ment of Child Ser­vices to have ig­nored po­lice calls for help, it is also an in­dict­ment on the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment in



re­gards to their ap­a­thy to­wards cross-border is­sues. Some­one should have picked up the phone and they didn’t.”

Coun­cil yesterday re­moved flow­ers and other gifts from a makeshift me­mo­rial for the child at Surfers Par­adise beach, where she washed up in the early hours of Novem­ber 19.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers had spo­ken to depart­ment staff for ad­vice and the fam­ily would be of­fered any sal­vage­able items.

Po­lice are con­tin­u­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter the baby’s fa­ther was charged with mur­der hav­ing been ac­cused of toss­ing her into the river at Tweed Heads on Novem­ber 17.

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