Inquiry Opened with a Promise of No Closed Doors
Yesterday, Commissioner Tim Carmody opened the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. His recommendations for the ‘road map’ for Queensland’s child protection system for the next decade, are due in 10 months.
In his introductory remarks, the Commissioner stressed that this is an Inquiry that would generally not be held “behind closed doors”. A commitment was made to conduct the Inquiry in an open, inclusive and accessible manner so that the community can be kept informed and able to debate the issues.
The Commissioner explained that because it is a Commission of Inquiry, he was able to exercise discretion in choosing the best methods and tools for gathering information. He invited everyone with a genuine interest in the matters being examined by the Inquiry to participate by, for example, lodging formal or informal submissions, describing their experiences and telling the Inquiry about their complaints and grievances as well as “giving credit where credit is due”.
Other methods to be used in gathering information that were outlined by the Commissioner included conducting public hearings as well as in camera hearings where confidentiality was required, examining departmental records, releasing discussion papers and holding on-line forums, listening to peak bodies and other stakeholder groups throughout Queensland, and consulting experts.
The Commissioner explained that the best source of information about the Inquiry will be their website www.childprotectioninquiry.qld.gov.au. It will contain details of public hearings, written submissions and transcripts of proceedings. Hearings will also be streamed live through the website.
PeakCare is very pleased that the Inquiry will offer a range of ways for stakeholders – peak bodies, service providers, parents, children, carers and researchers – to make their views and experiences known. This means that the ‘road map’ is more likely to deliver well-informed ‘solutions’ to some seemingly intractable and entrenched problems.
Tonight, PeakCare is holding our first Roundtable Meeting about the inquiry with members and key partners invited to join with us in collaborating about key issues we wish to bring to the attention of the Inquiry and the best means for developing well-informed and useful submissions.
We are delighted that over 70 people have registered to attend and are committed to ensuring that this will be just the start of our collaboration with member agencies across the State. Other on-line opportunities will be created for member agencies to participate in the development of our submissions as well as obtain information that may assist the development of their own submissions. Very importantly, we are looking forward to our face-to-face discussions at our “Meet the Protectors” Expos that will be rolled-out over the rest of 2012.
Watch out for next week’s e-News to read about what happened at our initial Roundtable Meeting and the ways in which you can collaborate with us in preparing our submissions and contributing to the important work of the Child Protection Inquiry.
Executive Director – PeakCare Queensland