THE Queensland Government has announced it has accepted or supported in principle more than 240 recommendations made following the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Tabling the Government’s response to the Royal Commission’s final report in Parliament last week, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paid tribute to those who experienced abuse and who came forward to tell their stories to the Commission.
“My government is committed to making Queensland a safe place for children to live, grow and learn,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I am proud of our efforts and those of the Queensland community towards achieving this.
“I acknowledge the immense work of the Royal Commission over the five years of its inquiry. I also acknowledge the immense bravery of all who have shared their horrific stories.
“Their courage in coming forward and working with the royal commission is to be applauded.”
Of the 409 recommendations made following the five-year Royal Commission, Queensland has accepted 88, supported 156 in principle, referred 89 for further consideration and noted 76.
Minister for Child Safety, Women and Youth Di Farmer said Queensland has a proud record, going back to the Forde Commission of Inquiry, of confronting the intolerable abuse of children in institutions.
“We are pleased to continue to lead and to participate in national efforts to help those who have suffered abuse in institutions,” Ms Farmer said.
“We have already announced that Queensland is opting in to the National Redress Scheme and I introduced the enabling legislation to the Queensland Parliament on Tuesday.
“This week’s State Budget committed $500 million for our contribution over the next 10 years.
“I welcome the recent announcements by governments and institutions alike to participate in this key outcome of the Royal Commission, and I once again call on all relevant non-government institutions to opt in to the scheme.
“While no amount of money can compensate for their suffering, the National Redress Scheme, is an important step to healing.”
Other key measures in the Government‘s response to the Royal Commission include commitments to introduce a Reportable Conduct Scheme, establish a Truth Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce, and strengthen services to people who have experienced abuse.
“I am pleased to announce that progressing a Reportable Conduct Scheme in Queensland, embedding a process for reporting allegations of harm and setting out the way complaints and allegations are managed is a priority for the Government,” Ms Farmer said.
“Last year the Premier announced that we would establish a Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce.
“This will provide for the views of those who have experienced institutional abuse, support services and organisations in advice to Government on implementing the Royal Commission’s reforms.
Ms Farmer said the Taskforce would be “established as a priority in the coming months”.
“We will also continue to strengthen the vital support services needed for people across Queensland who have experienced child sexual abuse or sexual violence, including contributing $22 million toward counselling for participants in the National Redress Scheme,” she said.
Ms Farmer also said Queensland had already made significant progress in line with the Royal Commission’s recommendations by strengthening the Child Safety and foster care systems, committing to a ‘No Card, No Start’ working with children requirement, and leading the nation in the fight against cyber-bullying.
“I want Queensland to be the safest place possible to raise a child, and to see the next generation prosper without fear, whether our children are in their homes, at school or in the community,” Ms Farmer said.
“A record $1.259 billion package for family support and child safety in 2018-19, and employment of 420 additional child safety staffover three yearstomid 2019, demonstrates our commitment to supporting children and families.
“A safe and supportive environment for every Queensland child is the ultimate goal, and while we have come a long way in identifying problem areas and putting in place targeted solutions, we still have a long way to go.
“All tiers of Government, our institutions, and the community have an important role to play in protecting our most valuable asset – our children.
“The Palaszczuk Government and I are committed to making Queensland the safest place for children to live, grow and learn.”