Australia’s next National Children’s Commissioner begins her new role today
Australia’s next National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds will formally commence her role today, and will use her platform to emphasise the need for “greater recognition of the importance of childhood in Australia”.
“Childhood is quite rightly described as critically important for people’s social, health and economic outcomes, but the value of childhood is not only about the future adult that a child may become,” Ms Hollands said, calling for children to be respected for “who they are in the here and now.”
Australia, she continued, needs a human rights framework that values childhood, respects children, and supports the wellbeing of children and their families.
The National Children’s Commissioner is a statutory position responsible for protecting and promoting the rights of all children in Australia, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Her role will be all the more essential in 2020 and beyond, as Australian children navigate the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic, as highlighted in a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Kids Helpline in September.
The pandemic has been shown to have had major impacts on children, in terms of their mental health, social isolation and education, as well as exposing gaps in support services, and ongoing inequality and disadvantage.
“It will be vital for governments to consider children in the road to recovery, because the impacts on children and their families are likely to be ongoing, and Australia’s children need an ongoing commitment to the protection of their rights,” Commissioner Hollonds said.
Her previous roles, most recently as the Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and previously a Chief Executive Officer of government and non-government organisations focussed on policy, service delivery and research in health, education and social services, including the Benevolent Society and Relationships Australia NSW, will support Ms Hollonds to keep children central in decision making throughout her term.
Further information about the functions of the National Children’s Commissioner role may be found here.