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It took two years, but Attorney-General finally gets her woman

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has filled a critical role to help improve police responses to domestic violence, two years after the position was first urged by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

Mar 16, 2023, updated Mar 16, 2023
Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Part one of the taskforce’s Hear Her Voice report was handed down in November 2021, recommending that a permanent supervisor be appointed in early 2022 to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the State Government’s responses.

Until today, (March 16) the position had not been permanently filled, save for the appointment of interim supervisor Linda Apelt in November last year on a time-limited three-month contract.

Apelt was installed after the taskforce, headed by Justice Margaret McMurdo, again recommended the role be filled in part two of the Hear Her Voice report released in July last year.

The government was reminded again of the vacant role in early November last year when Judge Deborah Richards, in the wake of the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police Service responses to domestic and family violence, recommended the role be filled.

Fentiman has announced that senior public servant Cathy Taylor, with 20 years’ experience in Queensland and South Australia in planning and service delivery across child protection, youth justice, disability services and domestic violence would assume the role permanently and start in “coming weeks”.

“Ms Taylor has immense experience in leading significant reforms to keep families safe and driving change across government agencies,” Fentiman said.

“She has extensive knowledge of Queensland’s investment and reform in this area, having led the response to the Not Now Not Ever Report”.

But Opposition spokesperson on the prevention of domestic, family and sexual violence, Amanda Camm, said the long delays in securing a permanent appointment had caused enormous frustration.

“They’ve dragged their feet on every measure to keep women safe,” Camm said.

“How can women have any confidence they’ll be safe in Queensland? Women’s safety has to be more than a shiny announcement.”

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Fentiman said Taylor’s appointment followed a nation-wide recruitment process to identify candidates with relevant expertise, who were then considered by an independent selection panel which included taskforce chief Margaret McMurdo.

Taylor has been appointed for a minimum term of two years.

 

 

 

 

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