NFPs Cautious on National Commissioner for Children and Young People
18 April 2012 at 12:07 pm
Australia’s leading children and youth focused organisations have cautiously welcomed the Government’s plan to establish a National Commissioner for Children and Young People announced yesterday.
“The need for a national approach to children that focuses on delivering outcomes is well overdue. We’ve been calling for a National Commissioner for over twenty years,” said James McDougall the Director of Advocacy at Save the Children.
“This is an important first step to deliver a structure which ensures accountability and looks at creating a level playing field for Australia’s most disadvantaged children.”
However, children and youth organisations have warned that the position is only tenable if it is adequately resourced.
Andrew Cummings, Executive Director of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition said: “A National Commissioner for Children and Young People can help to significantly improve the lives of all young people in Australia, but only if given the powers and resources to fulfil its mandate.”
AYAC, the Australia Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), Save the Children, UNICEF and UnitingCare Australia are concerned that without proper investment, the office may be funded to fail.
Dr Lance Emerson, CEO of ARACY said: “The funding of the National Commission needs to be seen in light of the consequential benefits to children and young people here and now, as well as in terms of the future productivity of Australia. Data from Canada shows GDP growth of 1% can be achieved for every 1% reduction in child vulnerability."
“Investment in a National Commissioner is a fiscally responsible move to facilitate greater coordination, accountability and efficiency across all levels of government.”
Lin Hatfield Dodds from UnitingCare Australia said: “In response to the Discussion Paper on a National Children’s Commissioner released by the Federal Government in December 2011, the non-government sector developed a position paper that outlined the principles, role and powers of a Commissioner, that was agreed by thirty five organisations.”
Norman Gillespie, CEO from UNICEF Australia stated: “We need bipartisan support for the role to ensure that the outcomes for children are effective. We don’t want children’s futures to be used for political points scoring. We call on all politicians to support a properly resourced Commission on budget night.”
The NGO position paper is available to download.