Parks Australia

Annual Child Safety Statement of Compliance

Commitment to child safety

Parks Australia is committed to building a positive and proactive child safe culture to support child safety and wellbeing. It endeavours to ensure children and young people feel safe, supported and respected, and that their rights, needs and interests are met.

Parks Australia believes it is the shared responsibility of all employees to keep children and young people safe, and commits to protecting and safeguarding children and young people by:

  • creating policies and procedures to protect children and young people
  • ensuring all staff are aware of the policies and procedures and abide by them
  • creating conditions that reduce the likelihood of harm
  • regularly undertaking a risk assessment of all child safety related risks, and acknowledging and managing any child safety incidents effectively
  • undertaking requirements of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework (the Framework)
  • adopting and implementing the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (the National Principles).

Parks Australia interaction with children and young people

Children and young people, both independently and with their families, are visitors to the parks, gardens and reserves which are managed by Parks Australia.

In addition, Parks Australia undertakes a number of activities that either directly or occasionally involve children and young people. These include:

Direct

  • Parks Australia endorsed events, stalls and exhibitions whereby children and young people may visit departmental premises, temporary stands, displays and booths.
  • Parents occasionally bring children and young people onto Parks Australia premises for short periods while working. For example, to use the carers room between end of school hours and end of work hours.
  • National Park group visits and tours, work placements, student-based apprenticeships, lost children, first responders to emergencies, junior rangers, incidental interaction with children while performing work duties.
  • School/educational institution visits, community events and expos to discuss Parks Australia’s work.

Occasional

  • Parks Australia staff may have indirect contact with children and young people whilst assisting with security implications or employees working arrangements.
  • Christmas parties and team building events where children and young people may attend.

Child safety risk assessment and mitigation

Parks Australia completed its annual child safe risk assessment on 31 March 2021. The assessment determined our level of risk to be medium.

The key risk to child safety identified in the risk assessment is injury to a child while involved in any of the above noted activities. The consequences include:

  • Physical injury or abuse
  • Psychological/emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Lack of cultural respect, racism or other vilification
  • Exposing child to or involving them in sexual acts, direct or indirect sexual exploitation and/or grooming
  • Reputational damage
  • Other crimes committed

Parks Australia has undertaken measures to address and mitigate these risks.

Compliance with the Framework and future improvements

There are four core requirements under the Framework:

  1. Undertake risk assessments annually in relation to activities of the entity, to identify the level of responsibility for, and contact with, children, evaluate risks to child safety, and put in place appropriate strategies to manage identified risks.
  2. Establish and maintain a system of training and compliance, to make staff aware of, and comply with, the Framework and relevant legislation, including Working with Children Checks (WWCCs) / Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Checks and mandatory reporting requirements.
  3. Adopt and implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
  4. Publish an annual statement of compliance with the Framework, including an overview of the entity’s child safety risk assessment (conducted under Requirement 1).

Parks Australia is committed to exercising continuous efforts to be a child safe organisation through implementation of the Framework. Parks Australia has demonstrated compliance with Requirements 1 and 4 of the Framework by completing the 2021 Annual Risk Assessment and publicising its Annual Child Safety Statement of Compliance on the department’s internet page.

Recognising that all Parks Australia staff are employees of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and to ensure compliance with Requirement 2 and 3 of the Framework the Department will undertake the following child safety measures and activities:

  • Work with Parks Australia to ensure its policies are consistent with the Department’s new Child Safety Policy and is in line with the Framework
  • provide child safety training to staff who either work directly with children and young people or may have contact with children and young people as part of their work
  • review current recruitment processes for Parks Australia positions where they may interact with child or young people
  • establish a compliance system that:
    • formally records which positions and staff require Working With Children Checks (WWCC) or Working With Vulnerable People (WWVP) Checks and regularly review position requirements
    • monitor staff adherence to training and WWCC or WWVP Check requirements
    • monitor breaches of the Framework
    • regularly review and update child-safety related policies and procedures.
  • Communicate with staff to inform them of:
    • the Framework as a whole-of-government policy
    • the department’s policies in relation to child safety
    • training and compliance requirements.

Jody Swirepik Director of National Parks