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    Education and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Life teaching bans, stricter reporting of student sexual abuse under new laws

    Education and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Tuesday, August 02, 2011

    Life teaching bans, stricter reporting of student sexual abuse under new laws

    Queensland students will be further protected through tough new laws introduced to State Parliament by the Bligh Government today.

    Education Minister Cameron Dick said the Education and Training Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 would make clear the obligation of school staff to be vigilant by reporting any suspected or future risk of sexual abuse of students.

    He said the Bill also included provisions to ban teachers convicted of serious criminal offences for life.

    “Under the proposed laws introduced today, all Queensland school staff will be required to report concerns that a student has been sexually abused by any person or is at risk of sexual abuse,” Mr Dick said.

    “While this is already policy in Queensland state schools, the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 currently only requires state and non-state school staff to report suspicions of student sexual abuse by a school employee.

    “We want teachers to be vigilant in reporting risks of future sexual abuse, but reporting also needs to be sensible and appropriate.

    “Our approach aligns with that of New South Wales, where there are no penalties for failing to reporting the risk of harm.”

    Mr Dick said teachers convicted of serious criminal offences, as set out in the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000, would also be banned from teaching in Queensland for life.

    “The amended laws will see teachers convicted of a serious offence automatically de-registered from teaching and banned for life from re-applying for registration,” he said.

    “Currently, teachers are automatically de-registered only if they are convicted of certain sexual offences, and are sentenced to imprisonment.

    “Once our new laws are in place, teachers who commit serious sexual, violent or drug-related offences will be banned from teaching, regardless of whether they are sentenced to imprisonment or not.

    “Our new laws align with the rules that are currently in place for people applying for blue cards to work with children.

    “They will also allow, in very limited circumstances, a person convicted of a serious offence to reapply for registration, but applicants will have to go through a rigorous two-stage process to do so.

    “We are serious about protecting Queensland students and teachers who commit such offences do not belong in our schools.

    “The new laws would also toughen up the existing teacher disciplinary arrangements enforced by the Queensland College of Teachers and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

    “The introduction of these laws will strengthen the disciplinary powers of QCAT, which will be able to prohibit a person from applying for registration for a stated period, or in appropriate instances, for life.

    “The Bligh Government is committed to creating safe and supportive learning environments in which the welfare and best interests of students are paramount.”

    Media contact: Office of the Minister for Education and Industrial Relations 3237 1000
    2 August 2011