Media Release by The Hon Paul Fletcher MP

Morrison Government commits to child protection information sharing

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Gareth Ward MP
    NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, today announced that the Morrison Government will invest $3.9 million towards the start-up costs for a national child protection information sharing system.

Minister Fletcher said that currently there is no nationally consistent approach for sharing of child protection information between the states and territories, nor any system-based solutions.

“When child protection information is not shared, or is not shared in a timely manner, we are putting Australia’s children at risk,” said Minister Fletcher.

“Many vulnerable families move interstate and it is not good enough that when they move access to vital information is lost or unable to be accessed by the new home state or territory.

The Victorian State Government Commission for Children and Young People’s 2014-15 Annual Report found that out of 43 child death inquiries, 20 of these involved inadequate sharing of information.

“There is an identified need for better information sharing between governments at a national level and without this, we are preventing child protection agencies from effectively doing their jobs,” said Minister Fletcher.

“With the Morrison Government contributing significantly to the development of a new system, we are now calling on states and territories to show their support and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our children.”

All jurisdictions in Australia are providing input into the development of a national system to ensure it fits the requirements for state and territory child protection agencies.

By making a significant contribution to the initial costs, the Commonwealth is committed to supporting state and territory governments to procure and implement the national child protection information sharing system.

“We want to make this as easy as possible for all states and territories to sign up to because the success of the system depends on it. I have written to my state and territory counterparts, Community Services Ministers, to inform them of the Commonwealth’s contribution and seek ongoing jurisdictional funding. As a nation, we need to commit to a long-term solution that prioritises the safety and wellbeing of children, irrespective of where they live in Australia,” said Minister Fletcher.

The New South Wales Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward MP said that establishing a National Child Protection information sharing system will be a key component in better information sharing between State and Commonwealth Governments.

“We want to improve the way we share information between Government agencies with the aim of improving outcomes for children regardless of where they live,” he said.

“The impact of violence, abuse and neglect can span across all domains of a child’s development, behaviour and mental health.

“So I am very pleased that the Commonwealth Government is committing $3.9 million towards further progressing a National Child Protection information sharing system and to move towards a national approach,” Minister Ward said.

Contact the Community Services Child Protection Helpline to report a child or young person suspected to be at risk of significant harm on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days a week) or contact the NSW Health Child Wellbeing Unit on 1300 480 420 for assistance in determining the level of harm and to plan the next steps to respond to the needs of the child/ren.