Fentiman on the defence over CQ child abuse backlog claims
CHILD Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman has defended the government after Shadow Minister Ros Bates claimed 80% of suspected Central Queensland abuse cases weren't investigated on time.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates said child safety workers across the region were "crying out” for more frontline staff as they struggled to investigate an increasing backlog of cases.
She said the minister was "delusional” if she was attempting to claim the child safety system of Queensland was not "broken”.
"Last month child safety officers opened 521 cases of suspected abuse in Central Queensland, but by the end of the month there was still 209 cases left outstanding," Ms Bates said.
"More than 72% of local cases seeking urgent action within five days aren't being investigated in time.
"In total, 65% of all suspected abuse cases in Central Queensland weren't investigated within the recommended timeframes - something needs to be done and it needs to be done now.”
But Ms Fentiman said the LNP's figures were inaccurate and did not match data held by the Department of Child Safety.
She said accurate data, which included October, would be published early next year.
"We are rebuilding the child protection system after the LNP cut 225 child safety workers during its time in office,” Ms Fentiman said.
"We have hired an additional 129 workers this financial year, above and beyond the 166 extra staff recruited over the past two years.
"We have invested a more than $1 billion in child and family services this financial year, which is a record amount of funding, with more money than ever before going towards early intervention and prevention help for families.”
Ms Fentiman added that the LNP's attack ran the risk of damaging the reform agenda the department was implementing, which was recommended by the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.