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Minister grilled over Girl X foster case

AAP logoAAP 28/08/2016

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard has defended his handling of an alleged abuse case at a Sydney foster care home involving a teenage girl where fresh cases have emerged.

The minister has confirmed he has asked the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse to re-examine a previous investigation into the refuge centre after two more alleged abuse cases were brought to his attention last Wednesday.

The facility was drawn into the spotlight last week after Mr Hazzard ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to reopen its investigation into the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a youth worker at the centre in 2012.

The teenager, dubbed 'Girl X', has since died.

An inquest into her death has begun in the NSW Coroner's Court on Monday.

Mr Hazzard clashed with opposition MPs over his handling of the allegations during a budget estimates hearing on Monday as he was repeatedly asked about what action he had taken to address the case.

The royal commission is best placed to comprehensively investigate the non-government facility, Mr Hazzard said.

"To make sure whatever the systemic issues are, if there are, can be addressed throughout the residential care centre," he told the hearing.

Despite "ongoing concerns", the NSW Ombudsman and Children's Guardian have also assured him that the facility is working within its regulatory guidelines, Mr Hazzard said.

"They're satisfied that the particular facility thoroughly complies with their inquiries," he said.

Reports the government renewed the facility's contracts were technically untrue, Mr Hazzard said, arguing that a decision on the contract's guidelines had been deferred for one year.

"What government has done so far is as good as it can get, short of further recommendations which might come out of the coroner's hearing into the unfortunate and terrible death of that young woman, or young child and the royal commission investigations," he said.

But Labor's family and community services spokeswoman Tania Mihailuk has called on the government to immediately suspend the centre.

"(The government) needs to step in. We need to know that other children in that facility are safe," Ms Mihailuk said on Monday.

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