A fundamental responsibility of government is to protect our state’s most vulnerable citizens - our children. The Weatherill Labor Government has failed to do this and like many, I have been shocked by all the developments that have come to light regarding the mismanagement of Families SA by our Premier and his colleagues.
Premier Jay Weatherill initially declared that this matter was so serious it would require a Royal Commission. However, actions speak louder than words and it is disappointing that the Premier has only addressed 21 of the 260 recommendations handed down by the Royal Commission in August.
Pressure from the State Opposition has now forced the government to finally make child protection a priority and the Premier is starting to implement the Opposition’s plan to improve child protection including policy to:
- Separate Families SA from the Education Department
- Have a dedicated commissioner for the Children
- Give the Children’s Commissioner investigative powers
My colleagues and I will continue to pursue this matter in the Parliament and via the media to hold the State Government to account on their failings. Our plan, and what we will continue to fight for includes:
- Extending foster care and kinship payments to the age of 21.
- A commitment to audit all children in residential facilities to ensure they are placed into foster care or kinship homes and that residential care is only a temporary accommodation solution.
- Implementing national recognition and registration for Social Workers which after 14 years the current Labor Government has failed to do despite repeated calls from social workers and industry representatives for this to happen.
The Marshall Liberal Team has a plan to improve child protection in South Australia. If you would like to share your thoughts with me on this important issue, please contact my office.