Qld MPs urged to stop IT glitch blame game

By Nathan Paull
AAP
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Qld govt systems tested after abuse glitch

Queensland's premier says all new government IT systems will be tested before they go live.

Queensland's politicians have come attack for politicising an embarrassing technical blunder that may have left hundreds of children at risk of sexual abuse.

A coding error in the state education department's OneSchool program meant police did not receive 644 suspected abuse reports from public school principals over the past six months.

Principals who submitted the reports to police had received receipts that the suspected abuse had been transmitted.

Labor blames the Liberal National Party, saying the program went live under its watch during caretaker provisions before the January 31 state election.

But the LNP has responded it should not have taken the government six months to pick up the gaffe.

It says it would not have taken as long to uncover the error if ministers were not overburdened juggling multiple portfolios.

A frustrated Hetty Johnston, founder of child protection group Bravehearts, says both sides need to stop "throwing stones".

"It'd be great if politics could take a back seat and they could all just come together on this one issue and just keep our kids safe," Ms Johnston told AAP.

She said the crux of the problem - that children could be in harm's way - was "just catastrophic" and becoming lost in the political debate.

"I mean, we're talking about human lives and we're talking about kids - just little kids," Ms Johnston said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk fired the opening salvo on Monday, questioning whether former education minister John-Paul Langbroek had ensured enough checks and balances were in place.

The serving minister, Kate Jones, also took aim despite insisting the issue was above politics.

"In reality, John-Paul Langbroek's legacy is a failure of an IT system that he implemented," she said.

Mr Langbroek quickly responded, arguing Ms Jones took so long to notice the problem because she was overburdened by Labor's election commitment to cut its cabinet from 19 to 14 ministers.

Ms Jones also oversees the state's tourism, major events, small business and Commonwealth Games portfolios.

"There's obviously some mega-portfolios in this government where ministers like Kate Jones cannot be across all the issues in their portfolio," Mr Langbroek said.

The opposition's education spokesman, Tim Mander, said the bungle highlights the need for a cabinet reshuffle so ministers are not so stretched.

"It beggars belief that over the six-month period, Minister Jones has not received or asked for regular briefs on the rollout of a new IT program as sensitive as child safety issues," Mr Mander said.

Amid the bickering, external auditor Deloitte has begun an eight-week review into the gaffe.

Queensland police, as part of Operation North Trellis, have reviewed all 644 cases and given them priority based on the potential danger to the children involved.

Police say specialist officers are conducting urgent welfare checks in the most serious matters.