Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Create safe environments for children

The importance of raising the awareness of child abuse and neglect has recently been highlighted with several shocking abuse cases around Australia.

Launching the 2006 Child Protection Week Minister for Families and Community Services, Mal Brough, today said these vitally important issues could no longer be ignored.

"National Child Protection Week is about raising awareness of child abuse and neglect and ensuring people from all walks of life are informed about the problem and how we must all work together to prevent it," Mr Brough said.

"While the Australian Government provides funding assistance for abuse prevention measures, child abuse and child neglect are the responsibility of State and Territory Governments. These governments need to take action to enforce their laws to protect children.

"This year’s theme, Young Visions for a Child Friendly Australia, is giving children and young people the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their visions of child friendly communities.

"Each year the Australian Government contributes nearly $250,000 to the NAPCAN Foundation to hold this important week, highlighting the need for communities to unite in creating safe environments for children.

"As part of the Governments child abuse prevention measures, more than $10 million has been has been delivered for programs and projects which focus on early intervention and prevention.

"This includes $4.2 million for the REACh program which improves the ability of families and caregivers to respond to children’s needs for care, development and safety, through timely access to community resources which can support them in their parenting role.

"In addition, the Government has committed $490 million to the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy which has a particular emphasis on early childhood initiatives and resources that can be used to achieve better outcomes for children and their families.

"Child abuse and neglect is an extremely serious social issue which affects not only the individuals involved, but has a lasting impact on the wider community," Mr Brough said.