2021 National Child Protection Week (5-11 September)

Good morning everyone, and on behalf of the Federal Government it’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to say a few words, on what is a very important occasion. 

I want to first of all acknowledge the traditional owners of the many lands that we are gathered on today, and pay my respects to elders past and present. 

I also commend the dedicated and hardworking team at NAPCAN, for leading this year’s National Child Protection Week. 

Organising events in the middle of a global pandemic is no easy task – and it’s because of your efforts and hard work that this year’s event is going ahead. 

It is also a measure of the importance of this year’s theme, which is Every child, in every community, needs a fair go.

I’ve had the honour of being the Assistant Minister for Children and Families for the past three years. And what is very clear is that protecting our kids, including those who are among our most vulnerable and disadvantaged, is everyone’s business. 

To change our direction on child safety as a nation, we need everyone on board who is prepared to work together to secure a real and long-term difference on the ground. This requires partnerships between individuals, between families, between providers, and between all levels of government. 

What is especially important is that achieving an outcome where our kids can grow up healthy, supported, and free from abuse and neglect, means that we need the frontline resources to stop it before it starts. 

I can assure you that as the Government finalises the new National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, these priorities are at the forefront of our thinking.

The next Framework will set out renewed commitments to ensure that families and communities have the support they need, so that children and young people can grow up in safe and secure environments.

Most importantly, the new Framework has a strong focus on early intervention to help build protective factors at the individual, family and community levels.

On this front, the Federal Government is working very closely with all state and territory governments to develop, and deliver, the new Framework. 

This piece of work recognises that the changes needed for sustained progress in reducing the rates of child abuse and neglect, require the best efforts of all of us. And through this new Framework, I’m optimistic about what we can achieve. 

The work of NAPCAN is well aligned with the goals of the new Framework. And once again, I congratulate you for your unwavering commitment to ensure that every child born in our nation gets a fair go. 

I wish you all the best for this year’s National Child Protection Week, and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of your discussions. Thank you.