WA brings in changes to Working with Children Checks
The Sector > Jobs News > WA brings in changes to Working with Children Checks

WA brings in changes to Working with Children Checks

by Freya Lucas

July 05, 2023

Western Australia has introduced legislative reforms to strengthen Working with Children Checks, making it harder for people who have committed certain offences, or engaged in certain conduct, to obtain a Working with Children card. 


“Keeping children safe is always our priority and Working with Children Checks are a screening tool that can help to do that,” said Child Protection Minister Sabine Winton. 


“Modernising these laws and making it tougher for people who pose an unacceptable risk to children from getting a Working with Children Card will further support children to safely enjoy everyday activities like sport and schooling.”


“Importantly, these updated laws will also give authorised officers powers to investigate suspected offences or determine compliance with the Act, to help keep children safe.”


The Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Amendment Act 2022 will help to better protect children and came into effect 1 July. Central to the changes is an expansion of the list of criminal offences that trigger an automatic Negative Notice, which makes it an offence to carry out child-related work. 


Other key changes to the legislation include:


  • preventing anyone with a current Interim Negative Notice or Negative Notice from being able to use parent volunteer or child volunteer exemptions; 


  • the ability for the Working with Children Screening Unit to receive conduct review findings or outcomes from the Teacher Registration Board of WA and the Ombudsman WA, which could trigger a reassessment of an individual’s Working with Children Card; and,


  • requiring Working with Children cardholders and applicants to notify the Working with Children Screening Unit of a change in personal details (name), contact details (residential address, telephone number, email etc.) or child-related work status (starting or ceasing).


“While these changes will improve one of our vital child-safe systems, it is important to acknowledge that protecting children is everyone’s responsibility. It cannot be left to one organisation, one person, or one particular safeguard to ensure the protection of children across the community,” Ms Winton added.


For employees, volunteers, or organisations who breach their obligations, fines of up to $60,000 and five years’ imprisonment may apply. For more information, please see here

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