NSW upper house calls for all papers relating to minister Pru Goward’s lies over caseworker shortages

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NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward will be forced to produce all documents relating to the Ernst and Young report into critical caseworker shortages – and her knowledge of the report – after a call for papers passed the State’s Legislative Council this morning.

Under the Standing Order 52 motion, the O’Farrell Government will be forced to produce all documents that relate to the Ernst and Young report, and any advice provided to the Minister about the report.

The Ernst and Young Report revealed that only 1,797 of the 2,068 budgeted DOCS caseworker positions in NSW had been filled – contradicting the Minister’s consistent position all year that there are more than 2,000 caseworkers protecting children.

Last week, Ms Goward told Parliament and a Budget Estimates hearing she had not seen or received the report.

On Tuesday, however, she admitted the Ernst and Young report was emailed to her office twice, mentioned four times on the Agenda of a July 8 Ministerial Policy Meeting she attended with her Director General – and enclosed as a hard copy with the Agenda.

“This call for papers will help get to the bottom of Minister Goward’s continued lies over the real number of caseworkers assessing children reported to be at risk of serious harm in NSW,” Opposition Leader John Robertson said.

"Under the call for papers, the O'Farrell Government will be forced to provide documentary evidence about her knowledge of the Ernst and Young report, including emails to her office, records of phone conversations and minutes of meetings.

“The Minister has already been caught out misleading the NSW Parliament. She has no place remaining as a Minister of the Crown in the O’Farrell Government.”

Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Linda Burney said: “Protecting the most vulnerable children in our community should be the number one priority for any Government, but instead this Minister is more interested in covering up her own lies to the Parliament.”

*Notice of motion passed by the Legislative Council

1428. Mr Luke Foley MLC to move -

That, under standing order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 14 days of the date of passing of this resolution the following documents created since 1 January 2013, in the possession, custody or control of the Premier, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Minister for Family and Community Services, the Department of Family and Community Services:

(a) all documents, including but not limited to tender documentation, letters of engagement, briefing notes, minutes of meetings, reports, emails and records of phone conversations relating to the Ernst & Young report “Department of Family and Community Services, Human resources capacity calculation and reporting”,

(b) all documents created as part of the preparation of the Ernst & Young report “Department of Family and Community Services, Human resources capacity calculation and reporting” and associated drafts,

(c) any Departmental advice provided to the Minister for Family and Community Services or the Premier or the Department of Premier and Cabinet relating to the Ernst & Young report “Department of Family and Community Services, Human resources capacity calculation and reporting”,Legislative Council Notice Paper No. 157—Thursday 22 August 2013 9803

(d) any document which records or refers to the production of documents as a result of this order of the House.

(Notice given 21 August 2013—expires Notice Paper No. 175)