Ministerial Statement - CHILD DEATH AND SERIOUS INJURY REVIEW COMMITTEE


On 30 June this year, Ms Deej Eszenyi completed her term as presiding member of the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee. Today, I wish to thank Ms Eszenyi for her 12 years of leadership in the role. We all seek to improve the safety and wellbeing of South Australia's children, and to do this through the review of child deaths requires an exceptional degree of dedication and commitment. The work of this committee is held in high regard, and I would like to personally acknowledge the valuable expert guidance that Ms Eszenyi has provided in the committee's reviews of child deaths.

The review of child deaths can be difficult work, but Ms Eszenyi always maintained a focus on what could be learnt that may lead to positive change for South Australia's children. Ms Eszenyi has worked hard to bring the committee's recommendations to the attention of many agencies and organisations involved in providing services to children. The best interests of children were always front and the centre in her deliberations and her work.

Of particular note, in 2014 Kidsafe SA awarded the committee the inaugural Helen Noblet Award for its significant contribution to child injury prevention in South Australia. For the past three years, Ms Eszenyi has also chaired the Australian and New Zealand Child Death Review and Prevention Group. Through this work, she has raised the profile of the South Australian committee and strengthened its reputation at a national level. She indicated a little while ago that she did not wish to continue as chair for a further two-year term.

Today in the parliament, on behalf the South Australian government, as I did last week in person, I wish to thank Ms Eszenyi for the time and effort she has put into the committee's work, and I wish her the very best in her future endeavours. Today, I can announce to the house that the new presiding member of the committee, Ms Meredith Dickson, will commence a two-year term in the role, starting on Monday 9 July.

Ms Dickson is an exceptional candidate, having worked in professional legal roles in South Australia for the past 27 years. Ms Dickson currently holds positions as vice president of the South Australian Bar Association executive and a director of the Law Council of Australia. She is also a member of the family law section of the Law Society of Australia and the International Academy of Family Lawyers. She has previously fulfilled the role of the chair of the Psychology Board of South Australia, and she has been a member of the Podiatry Board of South Australia, the Training Centre Review Board and the Women's Legal Service management committee.

I am confident that Ms Dickson will fulfil this role with the high level of dedication and high standards set by her predecessor, who I note has personally endorsed this appointment. I thank Ms Dickson and all members of the committee for their willingness to contribute to improving the safety and wellbeing of South Australia's children. I trust that her knowledge, expertise and leadership will be invaluable in the deliberations of the committee.