Justice Connect welcomes National Cabinet announcement to improve national consistency of Working with Children Checks (WWCC)

15 Dec 2021

Justice Connect welcomes the National Cabinet’s announcement to further improve national consistency of Working with Children Checks (WWCC).

As part of the recently released National Workplan to reduce the burden of overlapping regulations, in consultation with States and Territories, the Federal Government will develop an options paper for national reform to enhance child safety and reduce regulatory barriers around Working with Children Checks.

Chief Adviser of Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law Sue Woodward AM said, “In many forums over many years, we’ve been calling for reforms to the Working with Children Check Scheme. This work needs to happen at the national level and be given the highest priority in line with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse dating back to 2015.

Through our Not-for-profit Law program, we regularly receive enquiries from smaller not-for-profit organisations about the operation of and compliance with the Working with Children Check Scheme. Often from groups working across states or delivering services online.

“Many of the not-for-profit organisations we work with have limited resources, and rely heavily on volunteers to provide crucial services and support to children. We’ve called for Working with Children Checks to be free for volunteers in all jurisdictions.” They are currently free in most but not all.

“Many community groups struggle to meet the complex demands of ensuring their organisation is compliant with relevant child protection and worker screening legislation which is different in every state. They want to comply, but while these inconsistencies across the country remain, it’s harder than it needs to be or should be.”

“We need to lift all jurisdictions to the highest standard as is noted in the announcement.”

“There should be a system that enables these checks to be consistent and updated. Just like our vaccination certificates, there could be an easy way to ensure checks are stored as part of a secure credentials passport for those working with children and others who may be vulnerable so they can provide them to any organisation they work or volunteer for.”

There are already Australian examples that show this can be done, including the national disability worker screen scheme and the WeVolunteer platform in Victoria.

Read our guide on Working with Children Checks.

ENDS

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Roj Amedi, Justice Connect

roj.amedi@justiceconnect.org.au

0479 043 410

About Justice Connect:

Justice Connect is a legal services organisation and charity that designs and delivers high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice.

Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law (NFP Law) is a national, specialised legal program. It provides free and low-cost legal assistance to not-for-profit community organisations across Australia, runs a certified social enterprise and advocates for better laws and regulation on behalf of the Australian community sector.