Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has pledged $3.5 million to protect our children from cyberbullies.
It comes in response to the Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce Report ‘Adjust Our Settings: A community approach to address cyberbullying among children and young people in Queensland’ released today.
The Premier hosted a lunch event to announce the government’s response to the report and was attended by members of the Taskforce including Chair Madonna King as well as the parents of “Dolly” Everett who tragically took her life after being bullied online earlier this year.
All 29 report recommendations have been accepted.
The $3.5 million commitment includes:
$2 million over two years to develop and roll out awareness and education campaigns to assist the community, parents and carers and young people to understand what cyberbullying is, the harm it can cause and, how we need to address it.
$1 million for schools including $450,000 in funding to the Dolly’s Dream Foundation in partnership with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to implement the eSmart Schools Program in Queensland schools. Dolly’s Dream Foundation will match this funding with a further $300,000.
$500,000 to provide grants to young people and to youth and community organisations that want to undertake their own initiatives to address cyberbullying.
“The clear message from the Taskforce is there is no ‘one thing’ we can do to stop cyber bullies – we have to do EVERYTHING,” the Premier said.
“And we all have a part to play.”
The Taskforce held more than 50 consultations across the state and received 364 written submissions.
Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce Chair Madonna King said the most important recommendations are about ongoing input from children and parents.
“It’s been heartbreaking and hopeful in equal measure,” Ms King said.
"So many mums and dads told us of the need to make change. Teenagers said the same.
“This is a whole community issue and if our recommendations are implemented, parents will receive the assistance they want, schools will be better set up to investigate complaints and our focus all along - our children - will be safer.’'
The Premier formed the 16-member Taskforce in February and had Cyberbullying added to the national COAG agenda.
$450,000 will be provided to the Allanah and Madeleine Foundation run in conjunction with Tick and Kate Everitt.
The Everetts lost their daughter Dolly to cyberbullies.
“Like Bruce and Denise Morcombe, Tick and Kate are among the bravest people I’ve ever met,” the Premier said.
“This grant will enable Tick and Kate to spread the anti-bullying message particularly in regional Queensland.”
Queensland already has laws providing five year jail terms for the worst cases of cyberbullying. The penalty increases to seven years where violence is involved.
The government recently passed legislation surrounding the sharing of intimate images.
One of the most contentious issues surrounds the banning of mobile phones in schools.
The Taskforce leaves the issue to parents and principals to decide.
The Taskforce Report calls on the federal government to adopt national ‘right to be forgotten’ laws to allow the removal of damaging online information.
The Premier has also called for a Queensland office of the national E-Safety Commissioner.
“Cyberbullying goes across borders,” the Premier said.
“It follows children everywhere.
“This is not the end of the process. It’s only the beginning.”
Queensland Government response - http://thepremier.qld.gov.au/newsroom/cyberbullying-gov-response.aspx
The Taskforce report - https://events.premiers.qld.gov.au/antibullying/taskforce/