Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Community Services Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué

Community Services Ministers (CSM) met via videoconference on 16 February 2022.

Ministers discussed progress to date on the development of the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and General Action Plans for Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031 (Safe and Supported: the National Framework).

Ministers acknowledged the ongoing efforts of all governments, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Group, the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing and other Safe and Supported: the National Framework stakeholders involved in this important work.

Ministers were also pleased that representatives of the Leadership Group and the National Coalition had an opportunity to provide their views on priorities for the Action Plans.

Ministers discussed the common themes arising from stakeholder consultations to date and provided their in-principle agreement to progress a number of initial actions.

This includes actions relating to the exercise of authority in child protection by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities and providers, and agreeing a national approach for a sustainable and skilled children and families services workforce.

Ministers discussed the next steps for agreeing the initial actions in March 2022, including considering jurisdictional process, and committed to finalising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan and the General Action Plan as soon as possible.

Ministers agreed that, due to the strong focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, it is critical that governments continue to work closely with the Leadership Group to further develop the first Action Plans. Ministers also agreed that Leadership Group should endorse both Action Plans and any initial actions before they are finalised.

Ministers were also briefed on the development of a Theory of Change and Outcomes Framework that will sit alongside the first Action Plans. The Outcomes Framework will detail the specific changes Safe and Supported: the National Framework aims to achieve, while the Theory of Change will explain how and why these changes will occur.