Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma says Safe Pathways investigation would not be rushed

The government should sever ties with Safe Pathways following earlier allegations of neglect within the for-profit organisation, according to Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor. 

Ms O’Connor said she had spent Thursday morning with former employees of Safe Pathways discussing the issues. 

“[Ms Petrusma] has no choice but to terminate the contract with Safe Pathways,” she said.

“There are allegations about the way children have been dealt with by the organisation that we believe makes the contract untenable.

“Our fear is for these children who are highly vulnerable and for any children in the future that are put in the hands of a for-profit provider.” 

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said last month that 11 children remained in the care of the out-of-home provider, but reaffirmed this week that all of the children were safe. 

ABC’s Four Corners alleged last month that some money funded for the children was not being received by those children. 

Earlier this week, Ms Petrusma said that all the children in the Safe Pathways program were safe and had been visited by a child safety officer.

She said the timeline of the investigation should be “above politics” and that no shortcuts would be taken. 

“It is important that the investigation into Safe Pathways is done thoroughly by Children and Youth Services and is above politics,” Ms Petrusma said.

A government spokesperson added that the government’s number one priority was the children involved.

The spokesperson said there was no suggestion that the children in care were not safe. 

Ms Petrusma previously said in Parliament that concerns about the Safe Pathways program were first raised in August this year, followed by a second time in October, leading to the investigation. 

Opposition Children’s Minister Josh Willie called the Safe Pathways issue a “debacle”. 

“Tasmanians are right to question why the investigation the Minister claims is still underway is taking so long when 11 children are still in the care of this group,” Mr Willie said. 

“Tasmanians need to be abundantly clear about what has happened in the crucially important child protection area on this Minister’s watch.” 

Safe Pathways was contacted for comment. 

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop