25 October 2022 – Tonight’s budget is a down payment in children and young people’s future here at home, in our region and around the world.
UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said investments in children and young people is the key to economic stability in the decades to come and tonight’s Budget was one for our youngest generations in safeguarding their economic future.
“After two years of a global pandemic that disrupted education, widened inequality, and on the brink of a global economic downturn caused by war, conflict and rising inflation, it was vital that the Federal Budget boosted the resilience, investment and development of children and young people,” Mr Stuart said.
“Investments being made tonight in early childhood education, paid parental leave, mental health, climate change and overseas aid will support Australia through this global economic uncertainty and leave it better prepared for the future.
“We have moved beyond the health crisis but the economic pressure on families in Australia and throughout our region is more real than ever, compounded by global events and immediate devastating climate change. These are issues with a long tail. Our future economic prosperity will be defined by whether our youngest generations are equipped to combat the challenges.
“UNICEF Australia has been calling for increased paid parental leave, reduced cost of early childhood education, and a meaningful youth engagement strategy. The inclusion of these tonight provides significant support for new parents, children, and young people,” said Mr Stuart.
In wins for children, young people and Australian families, the government has committed:
- More affordable childcare for eligible families – expanding access for children to quality, meaningful early learning and care;
- A boost to paid parental leave – taking up UNICEF Australia’s call to increase the number of weeks available and the use or lose it provision;
- A new Office for Youth and a Youth Engagement Strategy informed by a youth steering committee – building the tools to include young people in the policies that impact them most;
- Investing the in the mental health of children, youth, and their communities with a $203.7 million student wellbeing fund, $23.5 million for mental health services like Headspace and a $13 million mental health package focused on communities recovering from natural disasters;
- A $630.4 million disaster ready fund and resilience – where we hope children focused resilience is core to the rebuilding and preparation of communities;
- Supporting children to be e-smart with a $6 million investment;
- Over $270 million for a Schools Upgrade Fund for capital works, with $215 million for public schools
- The continuation of the Family Friendly Workplace funding now supported within the Office of Women;
- Boost to youth employment, with 480,000 fee-free TAFE positions for industries impacted by skills shortages.
“It's important to measure children’s wellbeing in order to make effective targeted investments for children, building on the approach commenced in tonight’s budget,” said Mr Stuart.
The Budget also builds on the resilience of children and young people in our region. The additional $1.4 billion committed to in additional Official Development Assistance will have a tangible difference in the lives and wellbeing of children in the Pacific and in Southeast Asia.
“The past few years have been incredibly tough on children all around the world and no less our nearest neighbours, who face the daily impacts of climate change and malnutrition, with children the most vulnerable,” Mr Stuart said.
“UNICEF Australia will continue to work with the government to demonstrate real, meaningful change for the wellbeing of children in our region. We will work with the government to deliver programs with outcome and purpose and build the case for greater investment in our region in coming months and years.
“We welcome the investment in Australian non-government organisations to promote inclusive development and the investment in a first nations foreign policy – two tasks that UNICEF Australia stands ready to assist the government deliver.”
The investment to restore Australia’s role on the world stage through $45.8 million for an international climate step up, including seeking to host a COP climate conference in Australia, is important and we hope young people’s voices will be meaningfully heard.
Finally, we look forward to working with the Productivity Commission and the Department of Social Services in their work to better incentivise charitable giving to Australian NGOs and to develop a blueprint for the charity sector.
This is a Budget that delivers on the Government’s commitments to young people, invests in their future and makes meaningful change in our region.
Notes to editors
Elliot Stein, UNICEF Australia’s Head of Government and External Engagement is in Canberra and available for interview.
For more information, please contact:
Belinda Skridlova, UNICEF Australia, +61 402 012 531, firstname.lastname@example.org