Child protection calls rising

CHILD protection data released on Friday, which shows that notifications in Tasmania have increased annually in the past four years, has reignited debate on the absence of a children's commissioner.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Child Protection Australia report showed a year-on-year increase of notifications in the state, from 9895 in 2009-10, to 10,689 in 2010-11, 11,836 in 2011-12 and 12,311 notifications in 2012-13.

Meanwhile, Tasmania has lacked a permanent children's commissioner for almost a year.

In May, the government readvertised for a children's commissioner, although a selection panel recommended a candidate before the March election.

A government spokesman said the process was under way.

Opposition children's spokeswoman Rebecca White said she was disappointed that in more than four months since, no one had been appointed.

``When we were in government a suitable applicant for the position of children's commissioner was identified by an independent panel, but could not be appointed in caretaker mode without the Liberals' approval,'' Ms White said.

``Jacquie Petrusma would not engage and refused to meet to sign off on the appointment.''

Greens children's spokeswoman Cassy O'Connor also called for the urgent filling of the position.

``A critical step the minister can undertake to do now is to fill the children's commissioner position, which has been so ably filled on an acting basis by Elizabeth Daly,'' Ms O'Connor said.

A government spokesman said when the government advertised for the new children's commissioner, the role included a strengthened statement of duties and a term extended from three to five years.

In May, Ms Petrusma, Human Services Minister, said that four commissioners and two acting commissioners came and went between 2004 and 2013 under the previous government.


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