Staff on notice: Action will be taken after Mason findings

CHILD Safety officers savaged by a Coroner's report into the death of toddler Mason Jet Lee will know within weeks whether they face further disciplinary action.

Public Service Commission chief executive Robert Setter has confirmed his office is already looking into the 21 staff singled out by Coroner Jane Bentley last week for failing him "in nearly every possible way", including those who have already left government employ.

"Given the significant matters raised in the findings of the inquest ... the Public Service Commission has been asked to undertake a review of the report and advise whether there are grounds for further disciplinary action for any public service employee referred to in the report," Mr Setter told The Courier-Mail.

Mason Jet Lee died in June 2016 after his stepfather Andrew William O’Sullivan struck the neglected boy so hard that his organs ruptured.
Mason Jet Lee died in June 2016 after his stepfather Andrew William O’Sullivan struck the neglected boy so hard that his organs ruptured.

"Employees who have left the public service cannot be disciplined, however their actions will be part of the review.

"Given the seriousness of this case, there is the option to record a discipline sanction on their file."

The comments came as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she expected to be handed his report "in a couple of weeks, as soon as possible".

Asked what her response was to Queenslanders upset that no one had been held to account over the department's failures, she said: "Well I'm upset about what happened.

"Everyone is upset about what happened and the Public Service Commissioner is looking at that."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Ms Palaszczuk said there had been some disciplinary action, with 12 Child Safety workers having faced investigation by Ethical Standards and allegations substantiated against eight.

Three quit, five were reprimanded, one had their pay cut and another was referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission for professional misconduct. None were fired.

The Government will not say whether the further nine identified by the Coroner had been reprimanded in any way.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said Queenslanders wanted to know Mason "didn't die in vain".

The "desperately understaffed" department of four years ago that "needed massive reform" had been reformed, with hundreds more staff hired, she said.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer

"There were individual circumstances surrounding all those staff ... operating in the system that was simply not enough, not enough to save Mason's life," she said.

But Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Ms Palaszczuk had shown no leadership.

"This is a system that is broken from the top down and needs a complete overhaul," she said. "The Premier has held no one accountable for the terrible case of Mason Jet Lee."

Originally published as Staff on notice: Action will be taken after Mason findings


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