Australian Government health officials are implanting aboriginal girls as young as 12 with long-lasting contraceptive devices.
Queensland Health today confirmed the practice in which girls are implanted with devices that prevent pregnancy for five years.
News.com.au quoted opposition child safety spokeswoman Jan Stuckey as saying that she was "absolutely horrified" to learn of the practice when visiting Queensland Aboriginal communities recently.
She said the device did not protect girls against predators and sexually transmitted diseases and ignored the fact that young girls were sexually active.
"Stopping somebody from becoming pregnant is only part of the equation. Failure to monitor for sexually transmitted diseases, failure to adequately educate the children ... is a great abrogation of responsibility," Stuckey was quoted as telling ABC Radio today.
She said the practice ignored the problems of children having sex.
"I mean under 16 is illegal, we are talking about children here. You're talking about children being exposed to predators, children being bribed perhaps, put in a position to be bribed to experiment with drugs and alcohol at younger and younger ages and it's unlawful," she said.
Queensland Health acting chief Dr. Linda Selvey defended the practice, saying only "a small number" of procedures had been done.
"This is not a common practice and it is only ever done when the individual is known to be having unsafe sex and is also not in a position to be responding to counselling and not in a position to make good decisions for themselves," she said on ABC Radio.
She said the procedure was only ever done in consultation with health professionals and with the consent of a parent or guardian.