Media Release by The Hon Dr David Gillespie MP

Ministers agree to drive reforms to protect Australian children

Community Services Ministers from the Commonwealth and the states and territories met in Canberra today to discuss the protection and wellbeing of Australia’s children and young people.

Ministers agreed that the welfare and best interests of the child must always be the paramount concern in all decisions impacting on permanency for a child. This commitment recognises that abused and neglected children deserve to grow up in a family that is permanent, safe and stable, if they cannot safely be reunified with their families within a reasonable time.

To deliver on this commitment at a national, state and territory level, Ministers agreed to a National Permanency Work Plan that outlines clear actions to improve Permanency outcomes. Ministers will also develop a national strategy to recruit and retain more permanent carers.

Ministers agreed to drive reform efforts through the Fourth Action Plan of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

Ministers agreed to improve prevention and early intervention responses through joint service planning to improve access for children and families and provide more targeted, coordinated investment by governments.

Federal Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Dr David Gillespie said the priorities agreed at today’s meeting will help drive reforms to reduce instability and harm in the lives of children and young people in Australia.

“The Commonwealth Government is committed to working in partnership with all states and territories, as well as community organisations and service providers, to ensure that our children and families have access to targeted programs that will improve their life outcomes,” Dr Gillespie said.

“The clear priority is that all Australian children have to right to grow up in safety, with opportunities for a positive future”.