Qld acts following Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse

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.”

The Queensland Government’s response to the Royal Commission can be viewed in full here.

Hospital corridor

Two in hospital after mystery drug overdoses

TWO young men have been rushed to hospital – one of them sedated and in a critical condition – after overdosing on a mystery drug in NSW.

Police said the men overdosed in Darling Harbour on Saturday.

A 21-year-old man was rushed to Liverpool Hospital where he remained on Sunday, sedated and in a critical condition.

A second man, aged 24, was taken to Bankstown Hospital where he also remained on Sunday, in a stable, less serious condition.

Police have been told the men ingested an unknown substance that comes in a black clip-seal bag with ‘Australia’s No.1’.

The overdoses have prompted police to warn the community.

Bankstown Police Area Command Duty Officer, Chief Inspector Brad Thorne said

“There is a reason why drugs are illegal,” Chief Inspector Brad Thorne of Bankstown Police said.

“You don’t know what you are putting into your body and the effects it may have.

“They are very dangerous and can be harmful and in some cases, end in death.

“You need to ask yourself; is it really worth gambling with your life?”.

Anyone with information regarding the source of this substance is urged to contact Bankstown Police Station or Crime Stoppers.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

NSW Ambulance

Girl, 6, dead after car hits mother and children on pedestrian crossing

A CAR has reversed into a mother and her two young children – killing one of them – outside a busy shopping centre on the Sunshine Coast.

The tragedy unfolded in a car park outside Coles on Mill Lane at Nambour around midday on Sunday.

Police said the 37-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged 8 and 6, were on a pedestrian crossing when they were struck by a reversing hatchback.

The six-year-old girl sustained life-threatening injuries and was rushed to Nambour Hospital where sadly, she was pronounced dead.

Her eight-year-old sister was taken to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital with a serious but non-life-threatening lower leg injury, while the girls’ mother suffered minor injuries.

The driver, an 86-year-old woman, was not physically injured.

The scene of the accident was still being examined by police and a small section of the car park remained closed at the time of writing.

Police said their work was not affecting traffic.

Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy are continuing.

Nurse Hospital Elderly Man

Qld steps up fight against elder abuse

QUEENSLAND has launched a comprehensive awareness and prevention campaign to help curb elder abuse across the state.

The ‘there’s no excuse for elder abuse’ campaign was officially launched at Parliament House in Brisbane on Friday.

The campaign will be promoted online, in newspapers, on radio, in shopping centres and medical centres, and on buses.

Iconic landmarks such as Parliament House, the Story Bridge, Wheel of Brisbane and Treasury Casino will also be lit up in purple to further raise awareness.

More than 1600 abuse notifications were made to Queensland’s Elder Abuse Prevention Unit Helpline in 2016/17 – an increase of seven per cent on the previous financial year.

Minister for Seniors Coralee O’Rourke said many common forms of elder abuse were ‘subtle’ and ‘hard to detect’.

“Financial abuse continues to be the most commonly reported primary abuse type at around 65 per cent, followed by psychological abuse at close to 59 per cent,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“This is unacceptable and highlights why our campaign is so important.

“If your rights are being abused, it’s wrong. You do not have to tolerate this behaviour. There is help available and ways you can protect yourself.”

Mrs O’Rourke said close family members were usually the abusers and often hid the abuse.

“Because it is usually close family members who are the abusers, elder abuse is often hidden away and people are not willing to talk about it,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“It’s time for that to change and to ensure we have thriving Queensland communities free of elder abuse.

“I’d like to get the message out there that there is no excuse for elder abuse at any time.”

Mrs O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had expanded its seniors legal and support services to Gladstone, Rockhampton, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Mackay.

“Funding of $900,000 per year of the State Budget has been allocated to establish and operate the five new services,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“These services will be in addition to the elder abuse prevention services already offered in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Cairns and Townsville.”

Ian Law, Chief Executive Officer, Relationships Australia said the new services would provide assistance to access individualised supports and referrals to those at risk of or currently experiencing elder abuse.

“If you need help, we have regionally located services you can get in touch with to provide customised support and advice in your time of need,” he said.

The State Government has also announced it will invest an extra $1.2 million over the next three years to provide financial protection advice through the seniors legal and support services.

People who are concerned that an elderly person is being abused and in need of assistance can call the Elder Abuse helpline on 1300 651 192.

For more information about elder abuse and the campaign, click here.

Queensland police at Schoolies 2016

Dutch bikie gang not welcome in Queensland

THE Satudarah outlaw motorcycle gang has been added to the list of identified criminal organisations in Queensland, effectively restricting its ability to setup shop in the sunshine state.

The Dutch bikie gang has had a presence in Australia since 2015 but is yet to formally establish a chapter or clubhouse in Queensland.

After consulting with police, the state government moved to officially declare the gang an ‘identified organisation’ under the Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Act 2016.

It’s the 27th criminal network to be added to the list of identified organisations, joining the Bandidos, The Finks and the Rebels.

The declaration essentially restricts the gang’s ability to conduct business, intimidate members of the public and recruit members in Queensland, giving police powers to shut down clubhouses and prosecute gang members for consorting with each other and wearing their colours in public.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette said the recent declaration was further proof that Queensland’s organised crime regime was the toughest and most effective in Australia.

“Since the introduction of the Organised Crime Regime, we have successfully disrupted the illegal operation of identified organisations, keeping Queenslanders safe,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“Our laws have resulted in charges for 57 counts of drug trafficking with the Serious Organised Crime circumstance of aggravation.

“There have also been 12 convictions for the outlaw motorcycle gang colours offence, and one conviction for the consorting offence and 680 official warnings.

“These laws are being applied and are making a difference.”

A list of declared organisations’ logos can be found here.