Tasmanian Times

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School support staff sent home as government bungles child protection again

 Child Protection clearly a low priority for Hodgman Government
 250 school support staff not able to work after government misses deadline
 Labor warned Rockliff deadline was looming – and fail still occurred
The Hodgman Liberal Government has badly botched Tasmania’s new registration system to allow education staff to work with vulnerable children, forcing up to 250 school support workers out of the state’s classrooms.
In the latest example of the low priority the Hodgman Government places on the critical area of child protection, Shadow Education Minister Michelle O’Byrne said the government had failed to meet the deadline for support staff to undertake Working With Vulnerable People checks and registration despite being warned more than three months ago timelines were too tight.
“I find it incomprehensible that the government knew that this deadline was looming but waited until it was too late, placing staff and schools in an untenable position,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“They have now placed teacher aides who work with children with disabilities and groundsmen and lab and computer technicians in the ridiculous position where they are unable to work in the system which employs them.
“In August when the Teacher’s Registration Bill was debated in the Parliament, I clearly warned the Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff that the timeframe to have registrations in place by December was extremely tight and that more resources needed to be dedicated to the process.
“He assured Tasmanians that more resources had been allocated and the process would go smoothly.
“That has not happened.
“Clearly Mr Rockliff and the Justice Minister Vanessa Goodwin have failed to work together to ensure that the very important task of allowing all staff to obtain Working With Vulnerable People registration has been completed.
“Teachers and support staff have every right to feel extremely frustrated that they have been let down by the government.
“Coupled with the on-going bungles of Minister Jacquie Petrusma in Child Protection – culminating in the current Safe Pathways debacle – it’s clear that the protection of children, particularly vulnerable children, is not a priority for this government.”
Michelle O’Byrne MP Shadow Education Minister

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