Rockliff’s hollow headline on child safety budget a shameful sham

Premier Rockliff’s headline-grabbing child safety budget announcement has been exposed as hollow and misleading spin with no funding attached.

The Premier should be ashamed and Tasmanians deserve an apology after a $36 million child safety announcement is shown to be a sham with zero new funding in the budget.

Tasmanians concerned about child safety will be hurt and insulted that the Liberal Government has put a positive headline ahead of delivering an actual investment in safeguarding children.

Budget papers show the entire ‘Safeguarding Children and Young People’ initiative is to be funded “from within the Department’s existing resources”.

This is a despicable sham. Renaming money already being spent on education and children shows the Rockliff Government takes positive PR more seriously than child safety.

Tasmanians cannot take this commitment seriously – if we see any of the promised Safeguarding Officers, School Psychologists or Social Workers, it will be at the expense of existing staff and resources that schools and students rely on.

The Independent Inquiry into the Tasmanian Department of Education’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Inquiry) highlighted a severe lack of resources in schools that prevented them from being proactive when it came to child safety.

This budget sham leaves the system underfunded and offers nothing new for child safety. Raising the hopes of Tasmanians concerned about child safety with deceptive spin is disgraceful and warrants an apology.

The only way for the Rockliff Government to redeem themselves now when it comes to child safety is to back an apology with new funding to ensure these important initiatives are funded without costing children and young people in other ways.

The Government must reveal what spending will be cut or what resources for schools, children and young people will be lost if they fail to back the promised investment with new funding.

Statement attributable to: David Genford, AEU Tasmania Branch President