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QFCC welcomes proposed child safety and Blue Card reform

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QFCC welcomes proposed child safety and Blue Card reform

QFCC welcomes proposed child safety and Blue Card reform

13 June 2024

The QFCC welcomes the introduction of legislation into Queensland Parliament that aims to better protect Queensland children from harm.

The Child Safe Organisations Bill 2024 proposes to establish an integrated child-safe organisations system, comprising child safe standards and a reportable conduct scheme, with oversight from the QFCC. It proposes that the QFCC will guide and support organisations to meet their new responsibilities to keep Queensland children safer.

The Queensland Government also introduced the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024, which proposes reform to strengthen Queensland’s Blue Card scheme, including improving eligibility assessments, expanding the scheme to include more workplaces and jobs, and enabling a Blue Card to be suspended if there is a risk to that child while an assessment is underway.

In Queensland, kinship carers and adult household members are required to hold a blue card to care for children. A report by the QFCC in November 2023 found this requirement significantly and disproportionately disadvantages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The reform proposes to remove the requirement for family seeking to care for kin, which directly responds to a recommendation in our report. This will keep more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children connected to kin, Country and culture.

These proposed reforms have been informed by many recommendations made by the QFCC, dating back to 2017.

Quotes attributed to QFCC Principal Commissioner Luke Twyford:

“Every child deserves protection from child abuse and exploitation.

“I am incredibly pleased to see the government introduce legislation that will better protect Queensland children from harm.

“Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its expert findings, Australian governments have worked to develop solutions to keep our children safer. 

“The proposed reform to establish a child-safe organisations system sees Queensland join the other states that already have fully operational child-safe organisations systems.

“I also commend the government on introducing legislation that proposed to reform Queensland’s Blue Card system.

“Effectively safeguarding children requires multiple tools and processes to prevent, detect and respond to child sexual exploitation and abuse. Blue Card is an important safeguard to keep children safe, but it can’t be relied on alone as the only mechanism.

“The Blue Card reforms combined with the child-safe organisations framework will deliver a safety net unlike any we have seen in Queensland.

“Child abuse victim-survivors, child safety advocates, leaders across the child protection sector, and First Nations communities have for many years called for these reforms in Queensland, and I am pleased to see action taken in response.

“The Queensland Family and Child Commission is eager to work with government and the community to implement these important protections as soon as the legislation has passed.”

Quotes attributed to QFCC Commissioner Natalie Lewis:

“I welcome the proposed reforms to Queensland’s Blue Card scheme introduced to Queensland Parliament.

 “Every Queensland child has the right to be raised safely in their culture, connected to kin and country. 

 “These amendments are a necessary step to address the structural and systemic barriers that have disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and disrupted the safe care, connection and cultural continuity of our children and young people. 

"These proposed changes support our collective commitment to promote and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and uphold our enduring legal obligations—to make decisions in the best interests of children now and for the duration of that child’s life. 

“These changes affirm the primacy of safety for each child, in every decision and acknowledge the critical role that cultural continuity plays in achieving safety for First Nations children.

"Family caring for family is not employment. Our kinship structures, relational connections and collective responsibilities for caring for our children, born of culture, are a significant strength. 

 “This has been a longstanding issue raised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right across Queensland, and I am pleased to see action taken in response.

 “This is an important step in reframing Queensland’s relationship with First Nations Peoples, and I look forward to working with government and the community to implement this critical reform once the legislation passes.”



For media information contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone:  0404 971 164
Email:    media@qfcc.qld.gov.au