Australian child protection legislation

Australian child protection legislation

CFCA Resource Sheet— March 2018
A child holding his hand against a glass door

This resource sheet provides a brief overview of child protection legislation across state and territory jurisdictions in Australia. Child protection is an area of public law where authorities may intervene in family settings because of an allegation of harm or significant risk of harm to a child (Titterton, 2017).

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for the administration and operation of child protection services. Legislative acts in each state and territory govern the way such services are provided. The main child protection acts in each Australian state and territory are listed in Table 1. The table also outlines other acts of Parliament that are relevant to the operation and delivery of various services to children and families across Australia. For an overview of these acts, grouped by topic, see the Appendices.  

Table 1. Child protection legislation in Australian states and territoriesa
Jurisdiction Principal act Other relevant acts/legislation

Australian Capital Territory

Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT)

Adoption Act 1993 (ACT)

Children and Young People Act (ACT Childcare Services) Standards 2009 (No. 1)

Children and Young People (Employment) Standards 2011 (No. 1)

Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 (ACT)

Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT)

Ombudsman Act 1989 (ACT)

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT)

New South Wales 

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW)

Adoption Act 2000 (NSW)

Advocate for Children and Young People Act 2014 (NSW)

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2006 (NSW)

Child Protection (Offenders Prohibition Orders) Act 2004 (NSW)

Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW)

Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW)

Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW)

Industrial Relations (Child Employment) Act 2006 (NSW)

Ombudsman Act 1974 (NSW)

Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW)

Northern Territory 

Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)

Adoption of Children Act 1994 (NT)

Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act 2016 (NT)

Children’s Commissioner Act 2013 (NT)

Disability Services Act 2004 (NT)

Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 (NT)

Information Act 2006 (NT)

Youth Justice Act 2005 (NT)

Queensland

Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld)

Adoption Act 2009 (Qld)

Child Employment Act 2006 (Qld)

Child Protection and Education Legislation (Reporting of Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003 (Qld)

Child Protection (Offender Reporting) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld)

Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017 (Qld)

Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 (Qld)

Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld)

Director of Child Protection Litigation Act 2016 (Qld)

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)

Education and Care Services Act 2013 (Qld)

Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld)

Family and Child Commission Act 2014 (Qld)

Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 (Qld)

Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld)

Ombudsman Act 2001 (Qld)

Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld)

Public Guardian Act 2014 (Qld)

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld)

Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld)

South Australia

Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA)

Adoption Act 1988 (SA)

Child Protection Review (Powers and Immunities) Act 2002 (SA)

Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA)

Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006 (SA)

Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016 (SA)

Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2017 (SA)

Children’s Protection (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2005 (SA)

Domestic Violence Act 1994 (SA)

Family and Community Services Act 1972 (SA)

Young Offenders Act 1994 (SA)

Tasmania

Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas.)

Adoption Act 1988 (Tas.)

Child Care Act 2001 (Tas.)

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003 (Tas.)

Children, Young Persons and their Families Amendment Act 2009 (Tas.)

Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2016 (Tas.)

Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Bill 2016 (Tas.)

Education Act 1994 (Tas.)

Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas.)

Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 (Tas.)

Youth Justice Act 1997 (Tas.)

Victoria

Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic.)

Adoption Act 1984 (Vic.)

Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic.)

Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic.)

Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Act 2017 (Vic.)

Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012 (Vic.)

Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic.)

Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic.)

Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic.)

Western Australia

Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)

Adoption Act 1994 (WA)

Child Care Services Act 2007 (WA)

Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)

Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006 (WA)

Community Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act 2004 (WA)

Family Court Act 1997 (WA)

Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA)

Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)

Young Offenders Act 1994 (WA)

a For information on the state or territory agency responsible for child protection see CFCA publications Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: State and Territory Departments Responsible for Protecting Children and Developments to strengthen systems for child protection across Australia (Wise, 2017).

Key principles guiding legislation

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989) and many of the principles of the convention are included in Australia’s child protection legislation. Key pieces of Commonwealth (Cth) legislation provide guidance to states and territories, particularly the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth). This act contains the functions of the Human Rights Commission relating to the convention. The convention can be accessed online.

Human rights guidance for child protection is also applied in some state and territory legislation, including:

  • Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT);
  • Human Rights Commission Act 2005 (ACT);
  • Human Rights Act 2004 (NSW); and
  • The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic.).

Together with policy frameworks, which show the nature and extent of services and interventions to be provided, legislative principles reflect the service goals governments aspire to.

Child protection legislation in each state and territory across Australia differs according to local needs (Bromfield & Holzer, 2008; Fernandez & Atwool, 2013; Wise, 2017). However, legislation across all states and territories has similar guiding principles in several key areas. These principles include:

  • best interest of the child;
  • early intervention; and
  • the participation of children and young people in decision-making processes.

An overview of these three guiding principles in state and territory legislation is provided below. Provisions for out-of-home care and culturally appropriate child protection responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also guide state and territory legislation, and are summarised below.

A best interest principle

Legislation in all jurisdictions identifies the best interests of the child as the primary principle. Each jurisdiction has policy provisions to guide decision making in line with this principle.

Early intervention

While all jurisdictions identify the use of early intervention services to prevent entry or re-entry into the statutory system, delivery of these services varies. For example, how much non-government service providers are involved in, or responsible for, the delivery of services and their funding.

Participation of children and young people in decision making

Legislation in all Australian jurisdictions supports involving children and young people in decision making (to the extent that their age and maturity allows). This includes consulting with and seeking the views of children on issues affecting their lives. For example, section 8(3) of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 (Tas.) states “in any exercise of powers under this Act in relation to a child, if a child is able to form and express views as to his or her ongoing care and protection, those views must be sought and given serious consideration, taking into account the child’s age and maturity.”

Out-of-home care

Out-of-home care is the extreme end of statutory child protection. Other protective options are typically exhausted before alternative care arrangements are made for children seen to be at risk of maltreatment. Although there are provisions for children to be placed in out-of-home care voluntarily by parents (e.g., for respite), most children are placed there by an order made by the relevant court.

Culturally specific responses to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Each jurisdiction has general provisions for maintaining a child’s sense of cultural identity and community connectedness for all children—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. There are specific provisions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and their families for those going into out-of-home care. All relevant acts make reference to placement principles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (often referred to as the “Aboriginal Child Placement Principle”) either in legislation, policy or other forms of delegated legislation such as regulations.

Key differences in state and territory legislation

Key issues that are less consistent with several variations in each state and territory include after-care support, and permanency planning and stability of care, as detailed below:

After-care support

After-care support is based on the understanding that young people will continue to need support after leaving out-of-home care, as they make the transition to independence. Legislative provisions for after-care support are detailed in all jurisdictions in Australia; however, variations exist in the ages at which young people are eligible to receive after-care support from child protection departments. For example, in Victoria and Queensland legislation provides for after-care support for young people up to 21 years of age. Comparatively, New South Wales, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia provide support for young people up to 25 years of age. Although the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania have provisions for after-care support, no age limit is stated. More information about after-care support is available in the Supporting Young People Leaving Out-Of-Home Care paper (Campo & Commerford, 2016).

Permanency planning and stability of care

Permanency planning is a relatively recent area of development in Australian child protection, and is now a major consideration in providing future stability for children in out-of-home care. Permanency planning is the process of developing long-term care arrangements for children when there is no possibility for them to be safely reunited with their families (AIHW, 2016). As a recent development, not all jurisdictions have implemented legislative provisions around this type of service planning and delivery. Nonetheless, in jurisdictions without specific mention of permanency planning in legislation, policy frameworks often provide guidance in this area.[1]

National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009–2020

The National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009–2020 was developed by the Council of Australian Governments and uses a public health approach to place children's interests at the centre of all policy and legislative development. The National Framework and associated documents can be accessed online.

While child protection legislation is the jurisdiction of state and territory governments, the National Framework is a cooperative document that aims to provide a shared, national agenda for change in the way Australia manages child protection issues. The framework seeks to resolve the differences that exist across state and territory jurisdictions, some of which are outlined above. While there has been no nationally consistent legislation implemented at the state or territory level, there is work at a policy and practice level to address these discrepancies.

For example, uniformity across the ways in which Working with Children Checks are carried out is a priority of the National Framework. At a policy level, National Standards for out-of-home care have been implemented that influence policy and practice, although this is not currently represented in the legislation.

Appendices

Overview of key pieces of Australian child protection legislation

Jurisdiction

Principal child protection act

Key Commonwealth acts

ACT

Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

NSW

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)* 

NT

Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)

 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

Qld

Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld)

Child Protection Reform Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld)

 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

SA

Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA)

 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

Tas.

Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas.)

 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

Vic.

Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic.)

 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

WA

Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)

 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)*

Note: *The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) is included here as it contains the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child (Schedule 3).

Relevant legislation

Police and criminal justice

Legislation on police powers and responsibilities relates to child protection in matters including sexual abuse, female genital mutilation of girls and young women, and the abduction of a child. It specifies the extent of police powers under separate acts related to child protection, particularly with child abuse and neglect.

Jurisdiction

Police powers and responsibilities

ACT

Acts about police powers and responsibilities do not specify provisions for child protection. However, reports regarding child abuse and neglect can be made to the police.

NSW

Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) relates to child protection in the following sections:
s. 51: inquiries pursuant to a warrant related to child prostitution offences;
s. 108: specifies that the act does not affect the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW);
s. 136: specifies identification particulars of children under 14 years of age.

NT

The Criminal Code Act 2006 (NT):
s. 125E: Using a child for the production of child abuse material or pornographic or abusive performance;
s. 127: Sexual intercourse or gross indecency involving a child under 16 years;
s. 128: Sexual intercourse or gross indecency involving a child over 16 years under special care;
s. 131: Attempts to procure a child under 16 years;
s. 131A: Sexual relationship with a child;
s. 132: Indecent dealing with a child under 16 years;
s. 149: Duty of person in charge of child or others;
Division 4A (ss. 186 A–D): Female genital mutilation;
s. 201: Abduction, enticement, or detention of a child under 16 years for immoral purpose; 
s. 202: Abduction of a child under 16 years; 
Division 7 (s. 450): Criminal Code Amendment (Child Abuse Material) Act 2014 (NT).

Qld

Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) relates to child protection in the following sections:
s. 21A: specifies police power to enter for the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (Qld);
s. 488A: specifies taking of a DNA sample from a reportable offender for the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (Qld);
s. 878: Schedule 3 contains relevant offences for Chapter 13 disclosure of information provisions, specifically refers to Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (Qld) and the Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld).

SA

Acts about police powers and responsibilities do not specify provisions for child protection. However, reports regarding child abuse and neglect can be made to police.

Tas.

Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas.):
s. 7A specifies offences related to loitering around children.

Vic.

Victoria Police Act 2013 (Vic.) does not specify provisions related to child protection. However, reports regarding child abuse and neglect can be made to police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (SOCIT).

WA

Police Act 1892 (WA) does not specify any provisions related to child protection. However, reports regarding child abuse and neglect can be made to police child abuse squad.

Legislation on youth justice guides criminal justice proceedings for children and young people. Most states and territories have dedicated youth justice acts, except for the Australian Capital Territory, which has made provisions for youth justice matters in the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT).

Jurisdiction

Youth justice

ACT

Provisions for youth justice in the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT) in Chapters 4–9:
Chapter 4 Children and Young People and Criminal Matters: General;
Chapter 5 Criminal Matters: Transfers;
Chapter 6 Criminal Matters: Detention Places;
Chapter 7 Criminal Matters: Search and Seizure at Detention Places;
Chapter 8 Criminal Matters: Discipline at Detention Places;
Chapter 9 Criminal Matters: Conduct of Disciplinary Reviews.

NSW

Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW)

NT

Youth Justice Act 2005 (NT)

Qld

Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld)

SA

Young Offenders Act 1994 (SA)

Tas.

Youth Justice Act 1997 (Tas.)

Vic.

Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Act 2017 (Vic.)

WA

Young Offenders Act 1994 (WA)

Legislation about sex offender registration and reporting requires certain individuals who have committed sexual offences to notify police of their personal details, such as home address and employment. This is to prevent registrable offenders from causing harm or risk of harm to children. See the CFCA resource on Offender Registration Legislation in each Australian State and Territory for more information.

Jurisdiction

Registration and reporting of child sex offenders

ACT

Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 (ACT)

NSW

Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW)

Child Protection (Offenders Prohibition Orders) Act 2004 (NSW)

NT

Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act 2016 (NT)

Qld

Child Protection (Offender Reporting) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld)

SA

Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006 (SA)

Tas.

Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Regulations 2016 (Tas.)

Vic.

Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic.)

WA

Community Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act 2004 (WA)

Legislation on working with children ensures that adults who work with, or care for, children are subject to screening processes to protect children from physical and sexual harms. All states and territories have made legal provisions for adults working with children. See the CFCA resource on Pre-employment Screening: Working With Children Checks and Police Checks for more.

Jurisdiction

Working with children check

ACT

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT)

NSW

Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW)

NT

Provisions under the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)

Qld

Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld)

SA

Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA)

Tas.

Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 (Tas.)

Vic.

Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic.)

WA

Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)

Legislation on family services and child care services includes provisions for the licensing of, and placement of children in, out-of-home care facilities and support services for children. All states and territories have made legal provisions for family services and child care services in Australia.

Jurisdiction

Family services and child care services

ACT

Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT) has made provisions for out-of-home care in Chapter 15 Care and protection–Director-General has parental responsibility.

Children and Young People Act (ACT Childcare Services) Standards 2009 (No. 1) (ACT)

NSW

Provisions are included in the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) in Chapter 8 Out of Home Care.

NT

Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)

Qld

Provisions are made in the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) in Chapter 4 Regulation of Care Part 1: Standards of Care

Education and Care Services Act 2013 (Qld)

Education and Care Services Regulation 2013 (Qld)

Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld)

SA

Family and Community Services Act 1972 (SA)

Children’s Services Act 1985 (SA)

Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2017 (SA)

Tas.

Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas.)

Child Care Act 2001 (Tas.)

Vic.

Provisions are included in the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic.) in Parts 3.4 Out of Home Carers; Part 3.5 Child Care Agreements; Part 3.6 Restrictions on Long-Term Care of Children; Part 3.7 Management of Children in Out of Home Care.

Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic.)

WA

Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA) has made provisions for children in care in Part 4 Protection and Care of Children: Division 5 Children in the CEO’s Care; and Division 6 Provisions About Leaving the CEO’s Care.

Child Care Services Act 2007 (WA)

Family and domestic violence

All states and territories have legislation on child protection matters in family and domestic violence. Family and domestic violence legislation affects children, as they are often included on applications for Family Violence Protection Orders or Restraining Orders, which can be made on behalf of a parent and/or a child.

Jurisdiction

Family and domestic violence/Restraining orders

ACT

Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT)

NSW

Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW)

NT

Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 (NT)

Qld

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)

SA

Domestic Violence Act 1994 (SA)

Tas.

Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas.)

Vic.

Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic.)

WA

Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA)

Child protection in international contexts

Most states and territories rely on Commonwealth regulations on child protection in international contexts and intercountry adoption. However, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania have developed their own dedicated legislation on child protection in international contexts.

Jurisdiction

Protection of Australian children in international contexts (including intercountry adoption)

Cth

The Family Law (Child Protection Convention) Regulations 2003, made under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), provide processes for the following actions under the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. Australia has been party to this convention since 2003. These regulations include:

  • Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986 No. 85 (Cth)
  • Family Law (Child Protection Convention) Regulations 2003 No. 66 (Cth)
  • Family Law (Bilateral Arrangements—Intercountry Adoption) Regulations 1998 No. 248 (Cth)
  • Family Law (Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption) Regulations 1998 No. 249 (Cth)

ACT

See Cth

NSW>

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2006 (NSW)

NT

See Cth

Qld

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003 (Qld)

SA

See Cth

Tas.

Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003 (Tas.)

Vic.

See Cth

WA

See Cth

Adoption and guardianship

All states and territories have dedicated legislation about adoption. With the exception of the Northern Territory, all states and the Australian Capital Territory have made legal provisions to allow for the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

Jurisdiction

Adoption in Australia

ACT

Adoption Act 1993 (ACT)

This act also contains provisions for the adoption of children by same-sex couples (s. 14).

NSW

Adoption Act 2000 (NSW)

Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2010 (NSW)

NT

Adoption of Children Act 1994 (NT) a

Qld

Adoption Act 2009 (Qld)

The Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 allows for the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

SA

Adoption Act 1988 (SA)

The Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 (SA) allows for the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

Tas.

Adoption Act 1988 (Tas.)

Adoption Regulations 2006 (Tas.)

The Adoption Act 1988 (Tas.) also contains provisions for the adoption of children by same-sex couples (s. 20).

Vic.

Adoption Act 1984 (Vic.)

Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015 (Vic.)

WA

Adoption Act 1994 (WA)

This Act also contains provisions for the adoption of children by same-sex couples (s. 39).

Note: a The Northern Territory does not currently allow the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

Children’s commissioners, guardians and advocates generally advocate for children’s rights and protect their interests and wellbeing. State- and territory-appointed commissioners also review laws and policies that affect children, working to protect children from harm or risk of harm, within an independent statutory body. For more information regarding children’s commissioners in Australian states and territories, please see the CFCA resource sheet Children’s Commissioners and Guardians.

Jurisdiction

Commissioners, guardians and advocates

ACT

The Commissioner for Children and Young People is informed by several pieces of ACT legislation, including the Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT).

NSW

Advocate for Children and Young People Act 2014 (NSW)

NT

Children’s Commissioner Act 2013 (NT)

Qld

Public Guardian Act 2014 (Qld)

Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld)

Family and Child Commission Act 2014 (Qld)

Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld)

Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 (Qld)

SA

Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016 (SA)

Tas.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2016 (Tas.)

Vic.

Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012 (Vic.)

WA

Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006 (WA)

Child employment and related services

State and territory legislation restricts the types of work a child can undertake and the conditions regulating that work. While only New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have dedicated child employment laws, provisions for child employment are found in all states and territories (Workplace OHS, 2009).

Jurisdiction

Employment

ACT

Children and Young People (Employment) Standards 2011 (No. 1)

Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT)

NSW

Provisions under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) in Chapter 13

Industrial Relations (Child Employment) Act 2006 (NSW)

NT

Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT) includes two parts pertaining to child employment in Part 3.1 Screening for child-related employment; and Part 3.2 Employment of children.

Qld

Child Employment Act 2006 (Qld)

Child Employment Regulation 2016 (Qld)

SA

Education Act 1972 (SA) governs the age at which a child attends compulsory schooling, and stipulates that children cannot be employed during school hours.

Tas.

Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas.)includes provisions for child labour in s. 93 public entertainment by children and s. 94 trading by children in public places.

Vic.

Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic.)

WA

Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)

References

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016. Permanency planning in child protection. Child welfare series no. 64. Cat. No. CWS 58. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Bromfield, L. M., & Holzer, P. J. (2008). A national approach for child protection: Project report. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. Retrieved from <aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/national-approach-child-protection>.
  • Fernandez, E., & Atwool, N. (2013). Child protection and out of home care: Policy, practice, and research connections Australia and New Zealand, Psychosocial Intervention, 22 , 175–184.
  • Titterton, A. (2017). Indigenous access to family law in Australia and caring for Indigenous children. University of New South Wales Law Journal, 40 (1), 146.
  • United Nations. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. Geneva: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • Wise, S. (2017). Developments to strengthen systems for child protection across Australia (CFCA Paper No. 44). Melbourne: Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange, Australian Institute of Family Studies. Retrieved from <aifs.gov.au/cfca/sites/default/files/publication-documents/44_child_protection_reforms.pdf>.
  • Workplace OHS (2009, 7 October). Employment of young persons and child labour laws. Canberra: Workplace OHS. Retrieved from <workplaceohs.com.au/hazards/vulnerable-workers/news/employment-of-young-persons-and-child-labour-laws#.WcsQLq1L2i4>.

The Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange endeavours to ensure that information is accurate and up-to-date. A time delay may exist between legislative change and the update of this sheet. If you are aware of information in a CFCA information exchange resource that is incorrect or out-of-date, please contact us.

[1] See the Developments to strengthen systems for child protection across Australia paper (Wise, 2017), which provides information about recent developments in the permanency principle in all states and territories.

Authors and Acknowledgements

This paper was updated by Alissar El-Murr, Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Previous editions have been compiled by Deborah Scott, Prue Holzer and Alister Lamont.

Featured image: iStock/RinoCdZ

Publication details

CFCA Resource Sheet
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, March 2018.
Last updated March 2018

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