LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed moves by the State Government to force neglectful parents to be compulsorily drug tested by the Department of Child Safety if they want to keep their children.
He has also backed his Queensland colleague Dr Andrew Laming MP, who spoke in Parliament yesterday calling for “zero tolerance for sending children home into the arms of ice addicted parents”.
“At the end of the day the welfare of the child has to take precedence,” Mr Entsch said. “We can’t continue to see these tragic situations occur because the appropriate checks haven’t been carried out on the parents.
“There must be more transparency about the process to assess parents’ fitness and any backlogs in the system so the Department can be properly resourced. Kids need to be protected and if they’re in a situation where drug use is a known factor then I welcome the decision to test parents.”
Mr Entsch said there also needs to be more public awareness and conversations in the media about the reasons why these child deaths are happening.
“Where drugs are a major contributing factor, this has to become known. The terrible incidents that have occurred in Cairns and recently in Logan can provide a shocking wake-up call as to why parental drug use and kids don’t mix.”
Mr Entsch endorsed comments made by Dr Laming, the Member for Bowman, who said that crystal methamphetamine was a concern for both sides of parliament.
“All of the work we are doing in health in reducing the deaths of children is, at the same speed, being undone by suspicious deaths, most usually due to ice addicted households,” Dr Laming said.
“We need to make sure child protection is absolutely on the ball so that we do not have 79 per cent of cases not investigated within 10 days, as demanded. We need to make sure the kids are not sent home from paediatric units with absolutely no evaluation, with a warning sent to child protection that is simply not picked up.
“No child is safe in the home of an ice abuser. We can link to CrimTrac and link to Centrelink and make sure that every adult in that household is clear of ice, or we do not release their child.”