NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge visited ACWA ahead of the NSW election to speak with members about his party’s policy priorities for the next parliamentary term, especially those focused on generating better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families. These include:
- Securing an additional investment of $300 million a year into early intervention services.
- Establishing a NSW Family Investment Commission in NSW, a key recommendation of David Tune’s Independent Review of Out Of Home Care in New South Wales, to direct cross-agency support for children and families at risk.
- Increasing the age of leaving care to 21.
- Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 16 and providing appropriate supports to children and young people at risk of serious offending.
- Ensuring the principles of Aboriginal self determination in child protection are adhered to in practice.
- Introducing a Bill within the first 100 days of the next parliament to repeal elements of child protection laws passed last November under the Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill.
During the discussion, Mr Shoebridge expressed optimism that child protection has emerged as a priority issue for NSW politicians in the wake of evidence presented to the 2016 NSW parliamentary inquiry into child protection and the findings of the Tune Report. In particular, he is convinced there is a growing understanding across the political spectrum that early intervention is the fundamental key to keeping children safe and families together, and that future investment needs to reflect this.
The members who attended the discussion were keen to emphasise the importance of all political parties working together with the non-government sector and other stakeholders in keeping the spotlight on ‘where things are at’ in terms of improving outcomes for vulnerable groups within our community. In response, Mr Shoebridge explored with members, among other things, the prospect of the Parliament establishing a standing committee with an ongoing focus on early intervention and child protection reform.
ACWA extends our thanks to Mr Shoebridge for taking time out to share his views and thoughts on what the next term of parliament holds for the sector. Over the next term of parliament, ACWA looks forward to working with members of parliament, as well as other key stakeholders – such as government departments, non-government organisations and researchers, towards the common goal of achieving the best possible outcomes for those we collectively serve.