Media Release by The Hon Dan Tehan MP

New report card on Australian children and youth

Joint Media Release with:

  • Minister for Aged Care and Minister Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt

A new report on the emotional, social and physical wellbeing of Australia’s young people shows we are leading the world in some areas, including low rates of youth smoking and life expectancy at birth.

Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, launched the third Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Report Card in Canberra today.

Minister Wyatt said the report card highlighted many positive aspects, although more work was needed to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and young adults.

Among the key findings:

  • Australia leads the developed world in low youth smoking rates, the amount of time parents spend with their children daily and average life expectancy at birth
  • Rates of alcohol abuse and illicit drug use by young people have dropped
  • Indigenous child mortality is down
  • The number of Indigenous students completing Year 12 is rising faster than the national average

The Report Card ranks the experience of Australian children and youth on 75 indicators across six domains, comparing the results to other countries and to the previous ARACY reports in 2013 and 2008.

“It is extremely pleasing that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality has declined by 35 per cent between 1998 and 2016,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The rise in Indigenous student Year 12 retention is also excellent, lifting by 28 per cent since 2011, compared with a general increase of seven per cent.

“The six domains identified in the ARACY report are all related to the social determinants and cultural determinants of health for Australia’s First Peoples.

“We are taking a whole of government, cross-portfolio approach to improve Indigenous health, in conjunction with education, employment and other related factors.”

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said his department supported ARACY to produce the report card and provided $600,000 to the organisation through the Families and Communities Service Improvement program.

“I welcome the new report card, which compiles valuable data to help inform Australia’s response to emerging issues and trends in youth and children’s affairs,” Minister Tehan said.

Where possible, the 2018 report card includes comparisons using similar indicators for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population as well as international comparisons.

Minister Wyatt said the recently released report of the 2017 national consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, My Life My Lead, considered opportunities for strengthening approaches to the social determinants and cultural determinants of Indigenous health.

“Its findings will be reflected in government policy on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and will also be a key consideration for the Closing the Gap refresh consultations which are currently underway,” said the Minister.