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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 20603

Early Childhood Initiative

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/05/2003

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 20603

I announce today that the Government is committing $10 million from the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy for projects specifically designed for early childhood intervention and prevention.

All levels of government in Australia have a vital role to play in the well being of our children. The most effective way to assist children and amongst other things prevent abuse is through intervention and assistance for families who may be at risk in the crucial early years of childhood.

Most families are functional and provide an environment of care and affection for their children. However the challenge for governments is to intervene early and prevent the entrenchment of anti-social behaviour, lack of self-esteem and motivation by children in families which are at risk.

Today's commitment demonstrates continuing strong leadership by the Commonwealth Government in creating opportunities for all of Australia's children.

We know that the early childhood experience sets the stage for later development and life achievements. My government wants to act on this knowledge by providing practical assistance to families and children.

Today's announcement is not a one-off. The government has already made a substantial contribution to protecting young children and promoting their interests. The $10 million commitment will be used to build on initiatives that the government has already developed, as part of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy (SFCS).

The $10 million commitment announced today includes $1.2 million for a range of new projects to support children and families under the SFCS. These include:  Support for young Vietnamese parents, sponsored by the Wesley Uniting Mission in South Australia.  Parent groups and individual support for families at the Cooloon Children's Centre in NSW.  Playgroups for infants and children aged 0-3 with developmental disabilities, providing early intervention, parent education support and networking for families in Queensland.  Working with grandparents and young children right around Australia.  Funds for Professor Fiona Stanley's Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), to improve collaboration in child-related research, policy and practice.

More detail on these projects is shown in the attached table.

These new SFCS projects are initial practical steps contributing to the National Agenda for Early Childhood, launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, late last year.

The remaining $8.8 million of the funds announced today is for initiatives under the National Agenda for Early Childhood that emphasise working with parents to build skills, and helping vulnerable groups, including indigenous children. As a first practical step, $1 million will be provided to the organisation Australian Against Child Abuse to roll-out the Every Child is Important Campaign in all states and territories.

Further details on these projects will be announced shortly by Mr Anthony.

While the Commonwealth will show the way, we cannot do it alone. The best use of this funding will be achieved if all levels of government, organisations and the broad community work together. A fundamental aim of my Government is to encourage partnerships to be formed between governments, communities and businesses to tackle these problems cooperatively and effectively.

It is only by working together that we can make a real difference to the lives of those children who need all the support we can give.

Transcript 20603