Well thank you very much for the introduction, and I would like to first of all begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.
I would also like to recognise a few people who are joining us tonight:
- Bruce and Denise Morcombe, and their sons Bradly and Dean;
- The Hon Di Farmer, the Queensland Minister for Child Safety;
- Katarina Carroll, the Queensland Police Commissioner; and
I must say that on behalf of the Australian Government, I am honoured to be here with you all tonight for what is such an important occasion.
Of course, we are here to show our support for this tremendous Foundation that Bruce and Denise Morcombe established, as an enduring legacy for their beautiful son Daniel.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to take this opportunity to pay a sincere tribute to Bruce and Denise.
Thanks to their tireless efforts, The Daniel Morcombe Foundation has become one of our most prominent and important voices for strengthening and securing the safety of children in Australia.
I also want to congratulate this evening’s organisers, who have done a terrific job in transforming this Town Hall into to a blaze of red, Daniel’s colour.
Thanks to all of your efforts, red has now become an enduring symbol of child safety awareness in Australia.
Tonight’s event, along with honouring Daniel and his memory, is all about raising funds for the wide range of work that is being delivered by the Foundation that bears his name.
The awareness and education programs, which focus on online safety, personal safety strategies, respectful relationships, travel safety, and recognising abuse, has done a wonderful job, and made a real difference on the ground, to help make our communities safer for children.
Ladies and gentleman, there is absolutely nothing more precious than preserving and protecting the safety and wellbeing of our kids. It’s as simple as that.
This is why it remains such a priority for the Morrison Government.
That’s why importantly, along with a range of other initiatives, we have recently established a National Office for Child Safety, which is in the Prime Minister’s Department, to provide national leadership and co-ordination on these vital issues.
This office is working across all governments and sectors, to develop and deliver policies and strategies that will hopefully secure real results in relation to keeping our children safe from harm.
Increasingly, the Australian Government’s efforts require partnership and teamwork with the states and territories, as well as with community organisations.
A stand-out example of this approach is the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.
This ten-year Framework has provided an effective basis on which governments and non-government organisations can work together in the interests of child safety.
The final of the Framework’s four Action Plans is currently being rolled out, and I’m pleased that it has secured some great achievements, especially for the most vulnerable kids in our community.
At the same time, the Morrison Government is working with Families Australia, the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing, and the states and territories, to prepare the next long-term strategy for protecting Australia’s children, once the existing National Framework ends later this year.
The overriding and central message of the National Framework, and from the ongoing consultations that we’ve held around the nation, is that the safety and wellbeing of children is everyone’s business.
It is up to all of us – governments, communities, organisations and individuals – to help make our world as safe as possible for our kids. We owe it to them, and they deserve nothing less.
This is the message that also comes loud and clear from the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, and in closing, I would again like to recognise Bruce and Denise, and all of you who work with, and continue to support, this wonderful Foundation.
Ladies and gentlemen thank you again for having me here tonight, and I wish you all the best for a memorable evening and a successful year ahead.