Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

First national Children’s Commissioner appointed

Joint Media Release with:

  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard

    Mark Dreyfus MP, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Management

    Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Disability Reform

  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard

    Mark Dreyfus MP, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Management

    Julie Collins MP, Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Status of Women

The Gillard Government today announced the appointment of Ms Megan Mitchell as Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner.

The Government congratulates Megan Mitchell on this important and historic appointment.

The Gillard Government is establishing a dedicated advocate for children and young people at a national level as part of our commitment to giving kids the best start in life.

Ms Mitchell is a strong voice for vulnerable children in her current role as New South Wales Commissioner for Children and Young People and she will bring that experience to the national stage

We want every child to grow up safe, happy and well. The new Commissioner will make sure the needs of children and young people are put front and centre.

Importantly, Ms Mitchell will have a clear focus on vulnerable or at-risk groups of children, such as children with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, homeless children or those who are witnessing or subjected to violence.

The appointment of the National Commissioner is a key achievement under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

The work of the former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon MP in establishing Australia’s first ever National Children’s Commissioner was acknowledged by the Government.

The National Children’s Commissioner will sit within the Australian Human Rights Commission, Australia’s national independent statutory body dealing with human rights.

The Commissioner will promote public discussion and awareness of issues affecting children; conduct research and education programs; consult directly with children and representative organisations; and examine Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children’s human rights

The ACT Children & Young People Commissioner, Mr Alasdair Roy, ran a series of sessions in the ACT with students between the ages of 9 and 11 as part of the selection process.

Ms Mitchell has been appointed as National Children’s Commissioner for a period of five years commencing 25 March 2013.

Biography – Ms Megan Mitchell

Ms Megan Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney (1979), a Diploma of Education from the Sydney Teachers College (1980), a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney (1982) and a Master of Arts (Social Policy) from the University of York (1989).

Ms Mitchell has been the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People since 2010. Her career focus has been on vulnerable children, child protection, foster and kinship care, juvenile justice, children’s services, child care, disabilities, early intervention and prevention services.

In her present role her priorities have been promoting children’s participation in decision making, understanding and responding to the middle years of childhood, building healthy environments for children, child protection and preventing serious child injury.

Children involved in the selection process said ‘she was respectful of what we had to say’, and she ‘takes care of people – if someone is in trouble, she’ll care and will help us.’

Ms Mitchell’s previous roles include Executive Director of the ACT Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, Executive Director for Out of Home Care in the NSW Department of Community Services, Executive Director of the Australian Council of Social Service and Director, Strategic Policy and Planning in the NSW Ageing and Disability Department.