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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the blue card system

20 November 2012

This paper contends that there are still a number of misconceptions about the blue card system for child protection in Queensland, particularly in rural and remote Indigenous communities.

While it is not mandatory for people to identify their cultural background when applying for a blue or exemption card, the Commission monitors the information provided to assist it in appropriately targeting and tailoring education activities to meet the needs of particular groups.

Since the inception of the blue card system in 2001, and the introduction in 2010 of the exemption framework1, 55,836 blue cards and 73 exemption cards have been issued to applicants who have identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Based on this data, 14.9% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Queensland hold a blue or exemption card. The percentage for all Queensland adults is 14.6%.

However, anecdotal evidence from Commission visits to Indigenous communities and consultation with service providers indicates that there are still a number of misconceptions about the blue card system, particularly in rural and remote Indigenous communities.

This is the third paper in a series that seeks to measure the substantial contribution the blue card system has made, and is continuing to make, in creating safer service environments for children and young people in Queensland.

The first paper in this series is ‘Measuring the value and contribution of the blue card system in Queensland’ and the second paper is ‘The blue card system and child protection in Queensland’.