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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, delivered the following statement to the Federal Parliament. Please see above video for full speech.

“National Child Protection Week is a timely backdrop to the current industrial action by Tasmanian child safety officers who’ve walked off the job in protest over staff shortages. It’s also timely given the imminent release by the State Government of the report of The Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings.

“Now I’ve met a number of child safety officers and I can vouch for them working in one of the most important and toughest jobs going in Tasmania. They are good, compassionate people trying their best to help the kids as best they can. But they are chronically under resourced and lack support, and their industrial action has my full support.

“The Tasmanian Government is well aware of the problems besetting child safety, but remains hands-off and is ignoring the desperate calls for an emergency workforce package.

“But there’s also a role for the Federal Government and, to that end, I’ve raised Tasmania’s dire workforce shortage with the Treasurer and Education Minister, urging them to provide fee-free training for relevant workers and introduce measures to attract and retain staff.

“Frankly the child safety system, in Tasmania and elsewhere, is on the brink of collapse and governments need to step up. To do anything less would be to betray the children terribly.”