Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Latham urged to dump Collins

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed new Opposition Leader, Mark Latham’s interest in children’s policy issues.

“Mr Latham today used his first question in Parliament to ask what the Australian Government is doing in the children’s policy area. I know that he has a lot to get on top of, but he should be aware that:

  1. We have a proud record of economic management delivering the lowest interest rates and lowest inflation in a generation. This has lead to growth in real wages, employment, productivity and profitability – all benefiting Australian families.
  2. We have committed an estimated $19 billion in assistance to families through Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Parenting Payment, Maternity Allowance and Maternity and Immunisation Allowance
  3. This Government has spent, and continues to spend more on child care than any Labor government ever did. We have allocated a record $8 billion over 4 years to make quality child care more affordable. This assistance is delivering an average Child Care Benefit payment of nearly $2,000 a year.
  4. We are developing a National Agenda for Early Childhood. The National Agenda will set directions and actions for how Governments and communities can best support parents and respond to young children’s needs. The Government has already made an initial down-payment of $10 million for specific early childhood intervention and prevention projects.
  5. There is the development of a national approach to child sex offender registration. The register will enable police to track the movements of child sex offenders across the country.
  6. There is agreement with the State and Territory Governments to develop a National Plan for Foster Carers. The Plan will focus on training, research, uniform data collection and support. A focus on these areas will assist in achieving better outcomes for children in care and their carers.

“The Australian Government has in the past received bipartisan support on a number of these issues. However, the current Labor spokesperson, Jacinta Collins, has very clearly been grappling with the issues.

“Mr Latham appears to have a genuine interest in this area. I therefore call on him to replace Senator Collins with someone who shares his enthusiasm for this vitally important policy area,” Mr Anthony said.