The Member for Keira, Mr Ryan Park formally met with Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward to discuss his concerns surrounding child neglect in the Illawarra and across NSW.
Mr Park said the meeting was very productive with the Minister agreeing to bring forward legislation that will introduce tougher penalties, including imprisonment, for serious and ongoing child neglect.
Mr Park said this will bring NSW into line with other Australian states to ensure people who neglect children will feel the full force of the law. Mr Park requested the meeting a few weeks ago when a local mother was only given a fine for serious child neglect and won’t face any time in prison.
Mr Park used the opportunity to express his concerns with the Minister and outlined the magistrate’s limitations for punishment options as something that needs to be urgently reviewed.
He said that he would work with the Minister to ensure a suitable outcome is achieved for the protection of the most vulnerable in our community, our children.
Mr Park is looking forward to reviewing the new legislation when it comes before Parliament in the next session.
Quotes attributed to Member for Keira Ryan Park:
“I am very pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting, the Minister has listened and agreed to bring forward this critical legislation to introduce tougher penalties for people who commit serious child neglect.”
“I explained to the Minister that the local Magistrate was restricted to a fine only penalty. This simply isn’t in line with community expectations. I believe most people would expect that serious and ongoing child neglect would carry with it a range of penalties up to and including full time jail.”
“This case has horrified our region and I continue to work to ensure we come up with a solution that will see further protections and punishments in place.
“We need to do better as law makers and I am pleased that I have been able to sit with the Minister in a bipartisan manner to work through these issues and make real progress for the children of NSW.”
“The neglect of young children who don’t have an ability to protect themselves is something that we in this place should never walk away from. We need to see strong legislation in place as a matter of urgency.
“Young children right across NSW rely on the State to protect them when their parents cannot”