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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Creating child friendly communities should be a priority

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today said that creating child friendly communities should be a priority for all Australians.

Mr Anthony was speaking at the Economic and Social Outlook Conference, hosted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, and The Australian newspaper.

“Australian children are generally doing well, but we must work together to address issues such as childhood obesity, growing rates of some preventable illnesses and the poorer outcomes achieved by Indigenous children. There is also a need for better support for parents, including fathers, and access to early learning.

“To help achieve this, the Australian Government is developing the National Agenda for Early Childhood which aims to harness the considerable investments already made by all levels of government, business, families and communities.

“The National Agenda for Early Childhood is an ambitious and worthwhile undertaking. It is imperative we get this Agenda right because we are talking about our country’s most important future economic resource – today’s children are our future parents, workers, consumers and taxpayers.

“There is no doubt that early childhood development and experiences have a direct impact on future social, educational, career and health outcomes. Getting it right in the early years will help many avoid reliance on welfare, substance misuse and becoming entangled in the criminal justice system.

“Feedback on the Australian Government’s National Agenda for Early Childhood is in, and we are moving to address some of the most critical issues.

“A measured approach is crucial, but we have not been sitting on our hands. We have already committed $10 million to parenting education, to Indigenous child care support and to joined up services.

“More will be done to ensure parents and children have the support and the services they need and I am keen to work effectively with governments, parents and communities to improve children’s chances in life. Nothing is more important than the future of all our children,” Mr Anthony said.