Less in the bank for Ipswich child safety centres' budget
FUNDING for child safety centres in Ipswich has been cut by more than half a million dollars this year.
The three centres at Ipswich North, Ipswich South and Springfield will collectively lose $550,337 in the 2016-2017 budget, but the government says the cuts don't represent a loss of frontline services.
Instead the dollar figure drop represents the transfer of three court officer positions to a new specialist legal team.
If, as the government says, the cuts purely represent the transfer of wages, then each government paid court officer is worth $183,445 a year.
Ipswich is just one Queensland city experiencing the funding 'cuts' to child safety services to establish the new government department Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor, as recommended in the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.
The LNP state opposition, which has been circulating the latest funding figures to media outlets, says it shows the State Government has failed to act on desperate cries for help from the sector.
Yet, despite the damning funding figures, the government says before the end of the year, Ipswich will have three additional frontline workers in newly created positions.
Queensland Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said this year a record $1 billion would be spent on child and family services in Queensland.
"We have 166 more frontline and frontline support staff than we did two years ago, and there is an additional 47 workers whose recruitment is being fast-tracked,” Ms Fentiman said. "As part of this, the South-West Region will receive six new full-time equivalent frontline and frontline support positions. Three new positions will be based at Ipswich by the end of the year.
"We are committed to keeping Queensland children safe and to driving record investment into early intervention services to help families stay safely together, before they come into contact with the child protection system.”