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Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Bracks Must Demand Appropriate Standards from Non Government Organisations

Today’s report that children in state funded care are permitted to engage in glue and paint sniffing raises serious questions about the standards of care that Governments should demand of Non Government Organisations.

I will ensure that this matter is brought up at the next Community Services Ministers’ Conference meeting.

Taxpayers should be confident that government funds paid to community organisations are being used in a manner that is consistent with community values.

At the next Community Services Minister’s Conference I will propose that national guidelines be adopted for the funding of community organisations that ensure that community values are upheld if taxpayers’ money is being used.

While I accept that Mr Bracks or the responsible Victorian Minister may not have known about this so-called ‘pilot’, that does not absolve him of all responsibility.

The Victorian Government has a responsibility to investigate and address these allegations. Practices that may be detrimental to the health and development of the children involved are unacceptable.

State Governments have a responsibility to ensure that they know what is going on in facilities that they fund within their state.

The Commonwealth has an interest in this matter because state governments administer a number of community service programs on the Commonwealth’s behalf and we rely on them to ensure that there are appropriate standards of care.