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Legislative changes October 2016

Friday 4 November 2016

Changes to child protection legislation in NSW came into effect on 25 October 2016, strengthening the regulatory powers of the Children's Guardian.

The new amendments also tightened provisions for appealing against decisions to bar unsuitable Working With Children Check applicants from working with children. Also, under the Working With Children Check, it is now an offence to make a false or misleading statement, punishable by a maximum penalty of $550.

These changes are included in the Child Protection (Working with Children) and Other Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2016, making amendments to the following Acts:

  • Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012
  • Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
  • Teaching Service Act 1980
  • Education (School Administrative and Support Staff) Act 1987

Amendments to the Teaching and Education Staff Acts provide for suspension from duty (instead of dismissal) for a person whose Working With Children Check is cancelled because of a pending charge for a serious offence under the Working with Children legislation.

In children’s employment, the amendments give the Office of the Children’s Guardian new powers to enter and inspect premises where they reasonably suspect a person is illegally employing a child, as well as the ability to serve on-the-spot penalty notices for breaches of children’s employment legislation.

A summary of the effects of the new amendments is provided here.