Page 4180 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. That is right; as I made comment yesterday, it was in late July, and I was provided with advice by the department about the pressures in care and protection and the pressures in the foster care sector as well. They made a simple note that there was occasional use of unapproved agency staff in emergency situations. I have sought assurances, as I have done since then, that standards have been met. And I think you have said in this place too that there has been some lack of clarity in advice coming from the department. But all these matters will be reviewed and will be part of the Public Advocate’s review.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, you still have not told the Assembly what assurances you sought or how you sought those but in the almost two months since you became aware—

Mr Hargreaves: Preamble.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: When did you form the view that the directorate may have breached the act and how long after forming that view did you take action?

MS BURCH: I have regular conversations with the department where I ask, firstly: do the agencies meet our standards? What are the safeguards around children? Let us again put this in context. These have been emergency placements where the alternative was really such a devastating thought, that we would leave children in care.

I know that you have very clearly articulated your opinion of the care and protection area and the directorate this morning, Mrs Dunne, where you called them a failure and a disgrace or ignorant. It is very, can I say, disturbing, and on behalf of all the staff out there can I say that I think that is really quite offensive language.

Mr Seselja: On a point of order—

MS BURCH: But as to—

MR SPEAKER: One moment, Ms Burch. Stop the clocks, please.

Mr Seselja: This is about direct relevance. Very clearly, Mrs Dunne asked when the minister formed the view that the directorate may have breached the act and what action she took in response.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. The question is clear, minister. It is not a chance to reflect on this morning’s debate.

MS BURCH: I sought to have a meeting with one of the agencies involved. I held my view until I met with that agency. I met with that agency on the Friday, and the letter was sent forth to the agency, to the director-general, on the Tuesday.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video