Alleged child abusers and drug addicts given blue cards to work with children

Blue cards that let Queenslanders work with children have been given to alleged child abusers and drug addicts.

An investigation by The Courier-Mail found people rejected by the Justice Department had got blue cards by appealing to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The investigation shows the tribunal overturned one-in-every-four bans in the past six years – with blue cards given to a former ice addict, a drug-and-drink driver who killed another motorist, and two mothers accused of assaulting their own children.

Anyone convicted and jailed for serious child sex offences, the murder of a child or offences related to child exploitation material are banned from obtaining blue cards.

But other criminals – including drug dealers, armed robbers and wife bashers – can get one if their cases are deemed exceptional and authorities do not believe there’s a risk to children.

Child safety campaigner and Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston says the rules about who can obtain blue cards are not strict enough.

An investigation shows people rejected by the Justice Department have won blue cards by appealing to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Photo: AAP

A state government review last year recommended a raft of changes to approvals for working with children, including expanding the list of crimes that would automatically exclude someone from obtaining a blue card.

A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said work to implement those reforms was well underway.

A Blue Card Services spokeswoman told the paper the QCAT appeals process was about providing “natural justice”.

She said police monitor the criminal records of Blue Card applicants and cardholders, and they can be suspended or cancelled.