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8.6 - Final Report

The Australian Government and state and territory governments should make nationally consistent legislative and administrative arrangements, in each jurisdiction, for a specified range of bodies (prescribed bodies) to share information related to the safety and wellbeing of children, including information relevant to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts (relevant information). These arrangements should be made to establish an information exchange scheme to operate in and across Australian jurisdictions.

The Public Sector (Data Sharing) Act 2016 provides for agencies to share identifiable data ‘in connection with the wellbeing, welfare or protection of a child or children or other vulnerable person’.

This legislation also provides for the sharing of information with non-government organisations providing services to or on behalf of the government and sharing with other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth.

Government response: Accepted in principle
Lead agency: Office for Data Analytics (DPC)
Recommendation progress status: Complete

8.7 - Final Report

In establishing the information exchange scheme, the Australian Government and state and territory governments should develop a minimum of nationally consistent provisions to:

  1. enable direct exchange of relevant information between a range of prescribed bodies, including service providers, government and non-government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and regulatory and oversight bodies, which have responsibilities related to children’s safety and wellbeing
  2. permit prescribed bodies to provide relevant information to other prescribed bodies without a request, for purposes related to preventing, identifying and responding to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts
  3. require prescribed bodies to share relevant information on request from other prescribed bodies, for purposes related to preventing, identifying and responding to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, subject to limited exceptions
  4. explicitly prioritise children’s safety and wellbeing and override laws that might otherwise prohibit or restrict disclosure of information to prevent, identify and respond to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts
  5. provide safeguards and other measures for oversight and accountability to prevent unauthorised sharing and improper use of information obtained under the information exchange scheme require prescribed bodies to provide adversely affected persons with an opportunity to respond to untested or unsubstantiated allegations, where such information is received under the information exchange scheme, prior to taking adverse action against such persons, except where to do so could place another person at risk of harm.

South Australia has powerful information sharing constructs through the Public Sector (Data Sharing) Act 2016, the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 and the state-wide Information Sharing Guidelines. The Vulnerable Children Project, which facilitates sharing of child projection information between South Australian government agencies and the Department for Child Protection is due for completion by 31 December 2019.

South Australia continues to work with the federal government and other jurisdictions and through the Australian Data and Digital Council to improve information sharing via various initiatives. This includes awaiting the draft of the Federal data sharing legislation.

The National Child Protection Information Sharing System project, led by the Department of Social Services is looking to improve child safety by sharing child protection information dynamically across jurisdictions. South Australia is involved in this project.

Government response: Accepted in principle
Lead agency: Office for Data Analytics (DPC)
Recommendation progress status: Planning

8.8 - Final Report

The Australian Government, state and territory governments and prescribed bodies should work together to ensure that the implementation of our recommended information exchange scheme is supported with education, training and guidelines. Education, training and guidelines should promote understanding of, and confidence in, appropriate information sharing to better prevent, identify and respond to child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, including by addressing:

  1. impediments to information sharing due to limited understanding of applicable laws
  2. unauthorised sharing and improper use of information.

South Australia continues to coordinate with the Australian Government and other jurisdictions to implement information and data sharing schemes and provide input based on our experience with the Public Sector (Data Sharing) Act 2016 and the Information Sharing Guidelines.

The National Child Protection Information Sharing System project terms of references includes ‘Ensuring effective change management strategies are implemented across jurisdictions to support uptake and appropriate use of the solution by child protection staff’.

Government response: Accepted in principle
Lead agency: Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Recommendation progress status: Planning

Page last updated: 5 December 2019