Monday, May 20, 2024

SA broadens sex offender employment ban

South Australia will soon have tougher restrictions on convicted or accused child sex offenders in the community, with the passage of new laws passing through State Parliament’s Lower House today.

Currently, registered child sex offenders are barred from working in businesses that directly provide services to children, such as childcare, tutoring or coaching.

This leaves young teenage workers in other businesses at risk from potential offenders, said South Australian Attorney General, Kyam Maher.

The State Government has moved to address this flaw by preventing registered child sex offenders – or people accused of registrable offences – taking any job in a business where they would be in contact with child employees, regardless of whether the contact is in person, over the phone or electronically.

“This situation is clearly unacceptable, which is why the Government sought to amend our laws to provide greater protection to children,” said Mr Maher.

“In addition to preventing convicted offenders from working with child employees, these changes also mean that people accused of a registrable offence would be required to notify their employers if they work alongside or apply to work alongside child employees.

“I’m pleased to see this supported by all sides of Parliament, which will better protect our children and young people.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of my upper house colleague the Hon Connie Bonaros and the Shop, Distribution and Allied Employees’ Association in particular for their strong advocacy in this area, and for their collaboration with the Government in developing this legislation that will now work to better protect South Australians.”

South Australia will become the first jurisdiction in the country to have a default restriction on accused child sex offenders working with child employees.

Shop, Distribution and Allied Employees’ Association Secretary, Josh Peak described the move as a significant outcome for young South Aussie workers across retail, fast food, hospitality and many other industries.

“It’s great to see Parliament do the right thing and pass this commonsense reform to better protect young workers,” Mr Peak said.

“Child-sex offenders have no place working with or managing young people in any setting.

“There have been far too many incidents where managers charged with child sex offences have been allowed to continue working alongside young workers in retail and fast food.

“Young retail and fast-food workers – and their parents – can rest easy knowing there are now protections in place to keep child sex offenders out of their workplaces.

“The SDA is proud to have worked with the Labor Government and Connie Bonaros MLC to secure nation-leading laws to improve workers’ safety,” he said.

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