Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Ley represents Australia at 7th East Asia and Pacific Ministerial Consultation on Children, Cambodia: 23-25 March 2005

Australia will play a major role in building a coordinated approach to the well being of children and adolescents from over 20 countries in the East Asia and Pacific Region.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP will lead a delegation from Australia to the 7th East Asia and Pacific Ministerial Consultation on Children in Cambodia between 23 and 25 March, 2005.

“The forum will bring government delegations together to discuss important issues facing children and adolescents and enable me the opportunity to have bilateral discussions with my counterparts from other countries in the region,” Mrs Ley said.

“We will discuss ways in which Australia and its neighbours can collaborate to improve the lives of families and children in the region.

The Ministerial Consultation on Children will be hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia, and has been organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Supporting child development and the family unit is an ongoing priority for the Howard Government, as demonstrated by recent increases in family assistance, a strong investment in child care and through the development of a National Agenda for Early Childhood.

“Whilst most Australian children are doing well, there are still some areas of concern, for example, rates of child abuse and neglect and generally poorer outcomes experienced by Indigenous children.

“This meeting is a great opportunity for Australia to share our experiences and also to learn from the experience of our nearest neighbours,” Mrs Ley said