UNICEF: new Government’s first 100 days critical for children. 5 priorities to put children at the centre of the new Government’s agenda

UNICEF Australia is calling on the new Government to prioritise and improve the lives of children in Australia and the region by putting their rights and development at the top of the agenda during its first 100 days in office and beyond.
 
“All sides of politics must make good on their promise to work together in the national interest and for the betterment of our nation and this includes setting a clear agenda for children,” said Adrian Graham, CEO, UNICEF Australia.
 
“The first 100 days of the new Government will be crucial for children and UNICEF Australia is calling on all members of Australia’s 45th Parliament to govern for the future and put children first, with five clear, actionable and life-changing priorities.”
       
“After the longest election campaign in history, followed by a drawn out period of uncertainty and inertia awaiting a result, it’s time for action. It’s imperative that we reverse the deeply disturbing trends of growing child inequality in Australia and our region, by breaking the cycles of poverty and disadvantage, improving health and education outcomes and life chances for every child,” he added.
 
An Agenda for Children: UNICEF Australia’s 5 key priorities for Government:
 
  1. DEFINE A CLEAR PLAN TO ENABLE ALL CHILDREN TO REACH THEIR POTENTIAL
  • Appoint a dedicated Minister to prioritise children and young people in policy making
  • Develop a National Plan for Children, to improve their participation, social protections, education, and health outcomes
  • Introduce child focused budgeting to target and track resources that a government allocates to social protection, health and education programmes that benefit children
  1. REVERSE GROWING CHILD INEQUALITY
  • Establish a national poverty line, and set poverty reduction targets to be achieved by 2030 with a special focus on child poverty
  • Increase financial investment in early child education and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and also provide safe, culturally appropriate inclusive education models
  • Work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and leaders to address the over-representation of indigenous children in out-of-home care and the justice system as outlined in the Redfern Statement 2016
  1. ACT FOR REFUGEE & ASYLUM SEEKER CHILDREN & FAMILIES
  • Commit to resettling children and families on Nauru and adults on Manus Island to Australia, or nominate a strict timeframe for their safe resettlement in a credible third country
  • Commit to an increase in Australia’s Humanitarian Intake Programme to 30,000 places, in advance of the September 2016 World Summit on Refugees
  • Endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and Guidelines so that children living in conflict affected areas can be safe at school and continue to learn and develop
  1. TARGET THE AID PROGRAM TO BETTER ADDRESS EXTREME CHILD POVERTY
  • Develop a plan to implement the global Sustainable Development Goals into Australia’s domestic policy and embed them into our aid program
  • Work with civil society to develop a White Paper on international Development which places reducing poverty and inequality - especially for children - at the centre of Australia's international development efforts
  • Take immediate steps to restore Australia’s Overseas Development Assistance contribution to support our regional and international neighbours
  • Elevate addressing child poverty as a priority for Australia’s aid program alongside gender equality and disability inclusion
  1. PROTECT CHILDREN IN AUSTRALIA
  • Establish an Inter-departmental Committee to coordinate the implementation and monitoring of the Convention of the Rights of the Child
  • Sign and ratify Optional Protocol 3 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide children with the opportunity to access justice at the international level 
  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to improve monitoring and oversight in places of held detention
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For further information and interviews, please contact:
Nicole Mackey, UNICEF Australia, 0403 964 334, nmackey@unicef.org.au
Nicole Lawrence, UNICEF Australia, 0419 748 624, nlawrence@unicef.org.au
 
About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
 
For more information about UNICEF Australia and its work visit: www.unicef.org.au
 
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