Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Community Services Ministers’ Meeting Communique

Community Services Ministers (CSM) met via teleconference on Wednesday 29 July 2020 to continue their discussions regarding supporting Australian children and their families.

Ministers agreed that the reoccurrence of increased Coronavirus cases is worrying. Ministers expressed it is critically important to continue to manage the immediate and long term impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on Australian families.

State and territory Ministers shared advice on the significant efforts being made in their jurisdictions to support vulnerable community members and assist in the economic and social recovery from the pandemic.

CSM received an update by Mr Peter Conran AM, Chair of the National Cabinet Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums on the progress of the Review.

Progressing work on national policy initiatives

Ministers discussed the direction and focus of the successor plan to follow the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 (National Framework).

As agreed at the CSM meeting of 20 March 2020, Ministers re‑affirmed that the successor plan would aim to improve the safety of children, young people and families, particularly those at risk of harm.

Ministers agreed that the Children and Families Secretaries group would consider in detail the proposed direction of the successor plan including its vision, goals, proposed target cohorts and outcomes, and will report back to CSM.

Ministers also agreed to extend the Fourth Action Plan of the National Framework (2018-2020) by six-months to 30 June 2021, to finalise actions that are delayed due to Coronavirus, and to better align with the commencement of the successor plan.

National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (the National Centre)

Ministers noted ongoing progress on the implementation process to establish the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, which was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Ministers will continue discussions about the next steps in the implementation of the National Centre in future meetings.

The next CSM meeting is scheduled for 4 September 2020.