Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Families to benefit from early childhood initiatives

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister of new Commonwealth Government initiatives for early intervention and prevention for children and families.

“The Prime Minister has announced today that the Government will be committing $10 million from the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy to early childhood intervention and prevention to support many Australian families and children at risk.

“The $10 million commitment includes $1.2 million for a range of new projects under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy and $8.8 million for the initiatives under the National Agenda for Early Childhood.

“These initiatives are the first practical steps to be taken under the National Agenda for Early Childhood. They will make a real difference in supporting parents to help them build skills to give their children the best possible start in life.

“The $8.8 million for the National Agenda for Early Childhood will fund projects including $1 million to the Australian’s Against Child Abuse information campaign and parenting seminars, Every Child is Important. This project was initially funded under the Early Intervention and Parenting Projects for work in Victoria and Tasmania and this additional funding will bring the campaign to all other States and Territories.”

The remaining $7.8 million will fund a range of early childhood projects focussing on the key areas as identified under the National Agenda. These are:

  • Early child and maternal health – pilots to work out what information parents need at different times and how best to get it to them.
  • Early learning and care – projects supporting the professional development of child care and early childhood workers to improve their skills and ability to enhance children’s development. There will also be a focus on improved child care services for Indigenous communities.
  • Child friendly communities –will look at developing child care centres as ‘neighbourhood hubs’ for a number of early childhood, parenting and capacity building purposes.

“Parenting is one of the most important jobs people can do. However, it is not easy and children do not come with a manual. It is essential that there are services parents are able to turn to for advice and support,” he said.

Mr Anthony said the announcement builds on the contribution the Government is already making to protect young children and promote their interests.

“All levels of government – Federal State and local – and the community have a vital role to play to ensure Australia’s children have a bright future. The most effective way to assist children and prevent abuse is through intervention and assistance for families in the crucial early years of childhood.

“There is no doubt that early childhood development and experiences have a direct impact on future educational, career and health outcomes. There is also a strong case for getting it right in the early years to avoid reliance on welfare, substance misuse and becoming entangled in the criminal justice system.

“The Coalition Government is acting on this knowledge by providing practical assistance to families and children,” Mr Anthony said.

Joe Tucci from Australians Against Child Abuse is available for comment on ph 0418 991 766