Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Invest in children to value the future

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, called on the community to ‘value the future’ by investing in the early years of a child’s life.

Mr Anthony was speaking in Brisbane at the Anglicare Australia 2002 Conference, ‘Valuing our Future’.

“Our most pressing social problems have their roots in the early years of a person’s life. Crime, drugs, school failure and welfare dependence all sprout from a lack of support in childhood.

“The weight of evidence that says we need to start early to give parents the skills and support they need is overwhelming. In large measure, helping children means helping their parents. We need to be sure we continue to include parent support in strategies to support children.

“The Coalition Government has done much to help families through increased spending family payments, health services, child care and high quality education. We will continue to debate and develop policies to ensure families are receiving what they need to be resilient.

“The current work and family debate is important because if we get it right for families, we will get it right for children. There are many unique challenges facing Australian families today that were not present in years past that need to be addressed.

“There are nearly twice as many people under 18 years than people more than 65 years. With declining fertility rates and greater work opportunities, this new generation needs to have a solid foundation for them to balance work and family.

“However, the focus must be squarely on what is best for children and their development.”

Mr Anthony praised Anglicare Australia for the work that they do with some of Australia’s most disadvantaged people.

“Anglicare makes a real difference in people’s lives and especially children’s lives. I congratulate Anglicare Australia for the theme of their 2002 Conference because there is nothing more important than investing in our children if we are to value our future,” Mr Anthony said.