People acting as Santa Claus in Queensland shopping centres are not required to complete a Working With Children check, despite numerous calls for the loophole to be closed.
According to The Courier Mail, child protection workers raised the issue with authorities as early as 2005, but nothing has been done.
“People playing the role of Santa do not fall within a specific category of regulated employment or business under the Working with Children Act 2000,” the state advises on its Blue Card website.
“However, a Blue Card may be required when the work is carried out in a regulated environment such as a school, education and care centre, church, club or association.”
Those at shopping centres or department stores, meanwhile, are exempt.
Grandfather and Santa actor, Bruce Adams, told the paper he was shocked to learn recently that he is not required to obtain the card.
“I thought surely that wasn’t the case and said, ‘For my own peace of mind, I would like to renew’, but I was told I can’t do it because it wasn’t required for the role,” he told The Townsville Bulletin.
Adams has been working in the role at a Townsville shopping centre for the last three years, and estimates he has worked with about 6800 children over that time.
“These seem to be double standards because why do some Santas need them and some don’t, ” he said.
“Santa to kids is God and the last thing you want is somebody who is not up to standard to take advantage of this opportunity and create problems.”
The law is expected to be considered as part of a review into the Blue Card system, which was partly prompted by the alleged murder of Logan foster child Tiahleigh Palmer.