Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

White Balloon Day 2011

Today marks the 15th anniversary of White Balloon Day, an annual national event run by Bravehearts to raise awareness of child sexual assault and prevention in our community.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, today encouraged Australians to wear white and support this worthy cause.

“Child abuse and neglect are extremely serious issues for our community,” Ms Collins said.

“White Balloon Day is held in National Child Protection Week and serves a reminder to the whole community that we need to do all we can to protect children and young people.

“The Gillard Government is working with state and territory governments and non-government organisations, including Bravehearts, in implementing the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.”

The National Framework is an ambitious, long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australian children.

State and territory governments rightly retain responsibility for statutory child protection, but for the first time, an Australian Government is taking a national leadership role.

Ms Collins said the Gillard Government provided Bravehearts with more than $174,000 for White Balloon Day in 2011.

“Bravehearts provides valuable support and advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault,” Ms Collins said.

“Through the National Framework we were able to provide $40,000 more than last year’s funding for White Balloon Day events and activities, recognising the impact the recent natural disasters in Queensland had on their fundraising.

“Working with the states and territories and non-government organisations such as Bravehearts is a key element of the Gillard Government’s child-centred approach to family policy where children’s best interests are the driving force,” Ms Collins said.