Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Picture of Australia’s Children

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today outlined the considerable steps taken on developing an authoritative and reliable source of information on how Australia’s children are faring.

Mr Anthony today released outcomes and report from A Picture of Australia’s Children, a recent workshop on developing a regular national report on the health and welfare of Australia’s children.

“Currently, there is no national monitoring of how Australia’s children are faring in the key areas of development, education, health and wellbeing. The different measurements used across the States and Territories make it very difficult to gauge how our children are doing in key areas.

“This evidence is vital to making informed policy and funding decisions and would greatly assist all governments in the development of initiatives and programs to help improve the lives of children and families.

“The workshop, hosted by the Australian Council for Children and Parenting, was held last March and 50 people participated from federal, state and territory governments, key stakeholders from the sector and academia.

“The workshop was an important first step to gain support for the development of a national population-based report on children. The outcomes of the workshop have formed an important basis for the Australian Government’s continued focus on children’s care, development and welfare.

“Participants supported comprehensive and regular national reporting to recognise positive developments for Australia’s children, as well as the areas where we might do better. There was also support for a national program to improve the quality of information collected about children, their families and community supports.

“Following on from this workshop, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is producing A Picture of Australia’s Children report in 2005, building on existing work and available data to present a snapshot of how children are faring in the context of the family, community and broader social environments in which they live.

“It is hoped that this and successive reports will assist in driving continual improvements not only to national monitoring, but policy and program responses to the needs of young children and their families.

“Ensuring that our children have the best possible start to life is a priority of the Australian Government and we will continue the positive work with all stakeholders,” Mr Anthony said.