Massive breakthrough as Labor, LNP join forces
THE Child Safety system may be overhauled in an unprecedented bipartisan alliance between the LNP and Labor parties, a department boss has revealed.
It comes after an investigation into the system found Gold Coast officers were waiting days to sight children after child harm reports were made.
Now Child Safety Minister Di Farmer has revealed to the Bulletin she has met with both Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates and LNP Shadow Child Safety Minister Stephen Bennett to discuss an LNP plan for the system.
The plan would overhaul the Department of Child Safety, turning it into a 24-hour "Child Protection Force" akin to the Queensland Police Service.
It also calls for compulsory drug testing without second chances for parents, recruiting more foster carers and creating more emergency care options and calling in police investigators to clear backlogs and investigate high-risk cases.
A proposed $4 million two-year trial would also extend payments to foster carers for children in care until age 21.
Ms Farmer said she had been asked by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to "work with the LNP in a bipartisan and constructive way".
"(We want to) look at how, together, we can improve on and build a stronger child protection system to ensure the safety of vulnerable young Queenslanders and their families," she said.
"Everything is on the table when it comes to the safety of vulnerable children."
She added during the initial meeting with Ms Bates and Mr Bennett she had received a "brief outline" of the LNP policy.
"Since that meeting, as a follow up, I received a brief letter outlining some of the LNP's policy details," she said.
"At our next meeting, I look forward to seeing the LNP's Child Safety policy proposal in full and learning more about the associated costs."
It's unclear which of the plans points the department will seek to adopt, though political insiders have suggested a 24-hour system may be shot down.
LNP Minister Bennett last week labelled the system "broken" and called for "drastic reform".
"The focus of the LNP's Child Protection Force will be on protection," he said.
"The coronial report into the death of toddler Mason Jet Lee showed us that drastic reform is required and this new report confirms that once again."
Mason Jet Lee was just 21 months old when he was found dead in his Caboolture home in 2016.
The toddler had been punched by his stepfather William Andrew O'Sullivan, who was sentenced to nine years in jail in September 2019.
A subsequent coronial inquest found child safety authorities had failed to protect him.
Originally published as Massive breakthrough as Labor, LNP join forces