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Changes for organisations

Many of the changes to the blue card system affect organisations where workers or volunteers require blue cards.

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To help you manage your organisation’s obligations, you are now able to use an online Organisation Portal to manage blue card records more easily. This portal is being rolled out gradually.

We have also created resources including posters and fact sheets to help you understand and communicate the requirements with your workers and/or volunteers.

Workers requiring blue cards

You need to take reasonable steps to check a card holder’s ID and then link them to your organisation before they can start work.

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No Card, No Start means that paid workers must have a blue card (no longer a pending application) before they can work with children.

There is no change for volunteers, trainee students and people running regulated child-related businesses—they have always needed a blue card before they can start working or volunteering with children.

Volunteers and students need to be linked to an organisation to get a blue card for free.

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Renewals

As long as an individual submits their renewal application before their current card expires, they can continue to work in paid employment, volunteer, run the business or undertake student placement—even if we haven’t issued their new blue card by the time their previous card expires.

Organisations using the Organisation Portal will be able to check whether a card holder has applied to renew their card.

Organisations who are not using the Organisation Portal will be able to check whether a card holder has applied to renew their card by calling us on 1800 113 611.

Frequency test

In some cases, a person may not need a blue card if the work they do with children is not frequent (i.e. not more than 7 days in a calendar year).

This does not apply for business operators and the rule cannot be used for restricted persons.

Learn more about the frequency test.

Police information

We will notify employers of a change in police information, when appropriate.

It is no longer a requirement for employers to notify us of any changes in police information that they become aware of.

Restricted person(s) and restricted employment

It is an offence for an employer to employ or continue to employ a restricted person in restricted employment if they know (or should reasonably know) that they are a restricted person.

The maximum penalty will be $26,690 (200 penalty units) or 2 years in prison.

Case studies

You need to be proactive and take reasonable steps to ensure that you do not employ or continue to employ a restricted person in restricted employment.

You need to have policies and procedures in place to ensure they are not employed or do not continue to work or volunteer in your organisation.

Scenario 1

You live in a small community and a 17-year-old who attends your local church has told you that they want to volunteer at your youth group on a Friday night. They also told you that they were recently charged by police with some disqualifying offences that won't be determined for some months due to the scheduling of the court hearing.

As they do not need to have a blue card because they are a volunteer who is under 18, can your organisation still allow the young person to volunteer at the youth group?

No. The young person has been charged with a disqualifying offence that has not been finalised at court and is therefore considered a restricted person.

They cannot rely on the volunteer exemption for individuals who are under 18. You cannot allow them to volunteer.

Scenario 2

The junior sporting club volunteer coordinator is organising an end-of-year tournament and wants to use a guest umpire at the tournament as a one-off. The guest umpire mentions that their blue card has been suspended, but they don't need one because it is only a one-off event.

Can the guest umpire rely on the exemption?

No. The guest umpire is considered a restricted person because their blue card has been suspended. Although the guest umpire is not working more than 7 days in a calendar year, they cannot rely on the exemption.

It would be an offence for the club to engage this guest umpire for the tournament.

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