Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Key Report A First Step Towards Better Future For Australia’s Children

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today welcomed the release of a bulletin on children’s health, development and wellbeing as an important step towards providing better futures for Australian children.

‘A number of key measures have been brought together for the first time in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s new bulletin Key National Indicators of Children’s Health, Development and Wellbeing,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘Supporting children and families is a key priority of the Howard Government and I am committed to helping our children to get the best possible start in life.

‘As part of this work it is important to make sure the information we collect is useful and relevant to the decisions governments and organisations need to make to improve the lives of children and families today.

‘Government departments are working closely with the Institute to develop a new report A Picture of Australia’s Children, which will build on the AIHW bulletin and is scheduled to be released during the first half of next year.

‘This report will aim to present a balanced picture of how children are faring so that we can track how well we, as a nation, protect and respond to children in all environments.

‘It is also about raising public awareness about the needs of children and families. We know there are areas in child development where Australia is doing very well and we should celebrate this, but we also need to highlight those areas where greater attention is needed.

‘The Australian Government is finalising a National Agenda for Early Childhood with state and territory governments and during consultations there has been strong support for better monitoring of child outcomes which build on existing reporting mechanisms.

‘I want the National Agenda to strengthen the way governments and non-government organisations work together across the health, education and care sectors to better assist young children and their families.

‘It is hoped that this AIHW bulletin and successive reports will not only lead to improvements in national monitoring but also the policy and program responses to the needs of young children and their families,’ said Senator Patterson.