Gillard Government to establish National Children’s Commissioner
The Gillard Government today announced the creation of a National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said that the new Commissioner will focus on promoting the rights, wellbeing and development of children and young people in Australia.
“For the first time, Australia will have a dedicated advocate focussed on the human rights of children and young people at the national level,” Ms Roxon said.
“The Children’s Commissioner will ensure the voices of children and young people are heard in the development of Commonwealth policies and programs.”
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said establishing a Federal Children’s Commissioner was key action under the Government’s National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.
“We want every child to grow up safe, happy and well. The new Commissioner will represent the views of children and young people, particularly those most vulnerable, at the national level,” Ms Macklin said.
Minister for Community Services Julie Collins said children and young people need a national advocate to ensure their rights are reflected in national policies and programs.
“The National Children’s Commissioner will have a key role in advocating for the rights of children across Australia,” Ms Collins said.
“The national Commissioner will not duplicate but complement the work of states and territories, particularly the work of other commissioners and guardians.”
The Children’s Commissioner will take a broad advocacy role to promote public awareness of issues affecting children, conduct research and education programs, consult directly with children and representative organisations as well as monitor Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children’s rights, wellbeing and development.
The Government will call for expressions of interest for the position shortly. Legislation for the Commissioner will be introduced later this year and the new Commissioner is expected to take office by the end of 2012.
Funding for the establishment of the Children’s Commissioner will be fully offset from savings across the Attorney-General’s and the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolios.