Australia’s next PM should also be child wellbeing minister: ARACY

by Lyndsie Clark

March 14

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten should ensure that the next Prime Minister of Australia is also the Minister for the Wellbeing of Children and Young People, the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) has said while launching its 2019 policy priority report Our Children: They don’t vote but they do matter.

 

Launching the policy report, ARACY CEO Penny Dakin also reiterated calls for Newstart to be raised and for family support in general to be reviewed on the back of ARACY’s recent report that showed Australian children are suffering because of low Newstart payments to their parents.

 

“The job of government is to secure the future of the nation and nothing is more important to the future of any nation than its children,” Ms Dakin said. “Anyone who wants to lead the nation should be prepared to be accountable for its future, and this means being directly accountable for the wellbeing of our children.”

 

“Australian governments generally do a good job of meeting the needs of most Australian children. But too many miss out. Much of this is due to a lack of co-ordination between the states and the Australian Government. Some of it is due to bad policy such as the low rate of Newstart.

 

“To ensure our children get the attention they deserve from policy makers across the country we need leadership from the very top. Only then can issues such as the low rate of Newstart, bullying in our schools, exclusion of students with disability and the number of Aboriginal children being removed from their families be dealt with.

 

“That’s why ARACY thinks the next Australian Prime Minister should also be Minister for Child Wellbeing, and specifically accountable for improving the wellbeing of every child in Australia. We think the wellbeing of our children should be the first topic of conversation between Premiers and the Prime Minister at the regular meetings of the Council of Australian Governments, and the PM should lead these discussions,” Ms Dakin said.

 

“We also think that for any Prime Minister wanting to make a start on lifting child wellbeing, that lifting Newstart would be a great start.”

 

Developed by ARACY and partner organisations, Our Children: They don’t vote but they do matter report sets out a range of other recommendations for the next Australian Government, including:

 

  • A National Action Plan for the wellbeing of all Australian children
  • Shaping investments in kids and families based on research and evidence
  • A national survey of parents
  • More support for Sustained Nurse Home Visiting programs such as right@home
  • Widen the school gates – a more inclusive education system with adequate resourcing
  • Supporting wellbeing by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled early years services.

 

For more detail on ARACY’s policy recommendations, access the report here.

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