Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

How are our children faring?

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said he was hopeful that today’s workshop of experts could find a way to achieve a national report on how children across Australia are faring.

“Convened by the Australian Council for Children and Parenting, the Developing a picture of Australia’s children workshop will explore options for 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 the Government in the development of initiatives and programs to help improve the lives of children and families.

“It would be a considerable step forward if there was an authoritative and reliable source of information that was regularly updated to accurately reflect how Australia’s children are faring.

“The workshop will include representatives from government, academics, data collection organisations such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and non-governments organisations including ACOSS and the Smith Family. There will also be community representatives from the areas of health, education, social policy and justice sectors.

“Participants will discuss a draft framework for reporting on how our children are faring and look at possible indicators that could be used for initial reporting. Current gaps in indicators and data, and the key elements required to progress national reporting for children will be explored.

“The workshop will also consider information already being sought by Governments, various organisations and community groups and highlight areas where greater attention is needed.

“The Australian Council for Children and Parenting is the Australian Government’s chief advisory body on these issues and is made up of 15 experts. I congratulate them for convening this important workshop.

“Supporting children and families is a key priority of the Australian Government and this initiative is further evidence of our commitment to Australian children and families,” Mr Anthony said.