State Government enshrines free volunteer screening checks in law ahead of new WWCCs

14.05.2019
Lower Costs

The State Government has today secured a range of legislative changes in parliament to strengthen its screening laws, including transitional arrangements for a new working with children check (WWCC) effective from 1 July 2019.

The amendments enshrine in law the Liberal Government’s election commitment delivering free volunteer screening checks for all South Australians – an initiative that was introduced in November 2018.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said today’s parliamentary progress is a win for South Australian communities, its families, volunteers and children.

“I am thrilled the Liberal Government has been able to secure these amendments today which enshrine in law our election commitment to deliver free volunteer screening checks for all South Australians,” said Minister Lensink.

Everyone working or volunteering with children must have a valid child-related clearance from 1 July 2019. Anyone holding a valid screening or registration issued prior to 2019 will be able to continue to use it, as the legislation provides for orderly transition to the new system.

Today’s amendments to transitional periods mean that for the majority of South Australians there will be an extended period of time to comply with the new check. For example, a current national police check will be valid until 1 July 2020.

“At the end of these transitional periods, everyone must, by law, have a new working with children check. This will simplify the process for screening, making it more transparent for people working or volunteering with children,” said Minister Lensink.

“This applies to everyone who works with children, from sports coaches and bus drivers, to teachers, party entertainers, ministers of religion and health and emergency services workers.”

Minister Lensink said the changes were recommended as part of South Australian and Federal royal commissions, to help keep children safe in our communities.

“Only the Department of Human Services Screening Unit can do a working with children check, making our screening system stronger, and more consistent,” said Minister Lensink.

The Department of Human Services will now commence an extensive education campaign to reach the various groups impacted by the changes to ensure they’re aware of their obligations and transitional timeframes.

“You’ll start to see a wide range of advertising commence early next week, plus information through professional and volunteer organisations,” said Minister Lensink.

For more information on whether you need a new working with children check and when to apply, visit www.screening.sa.gov.au/wwcc  

 Background information:

  • Everyone who works or volunteers with children must have a valid child-related clearance from 1 July 2019. This clearance can take one of several forms as the new working with children check (WWCC) rolls out under transitional arrangements.
  • Transitional arrangements, which apply to most people who need a WWCC, are in place. They include:
    • People with an existing DCSI or DHS child-related clearance can continue to be used it until it expires.
    • People who have a professional registration and work with children must get a WWCC before they renew their current professional registration, or as their current child-related employment screening expires, whichever comes first. This includes:
      • Teachers
      • Health service workers
      • Passenger transport service workers
      • Approved foster parents or people licenced as a foster care agency.
    • Emergency services workers have up to three years (1 July 2022) to transition to a WWCC.
    • People, including volunteers, who have a current National Police Certificate assessed by a responsible authority, have until 1 July 2020 to get a WWCC.
  • A WWCC will be valid for five years, instead of three years.
  • Individuals can apply for their own WWCC to help them be job-ready.

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