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Launch of National Child Protection Week 2022, Government House


Good morning.

This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.

It is a privilege for Linda and me to welcome you all to Government House for what continues to be a very important week on our national calendar.

We all wish for a time when there is longer a requirement for a National Child Protection Week.

For now, however, a designated week in the name of Child Protection is necessary and I know that we are not blind to the magnitude of the problem.

As Patron of the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, I hold in high esteem all who dedicate their working hours — and more — to promoting the safety and wellbeing of children.

Child Protection is an extremely challenging sector in which to work. It requires many different skillsets and there are many elements to having an effective and sustainable system.

Thank you, all, for what you do.

Today, as we launch National Child Protection Week 2022, we recommit ourselves to doing all that we can to help protect our children who are at risk.

Right now, in Australia, 1 in 6 children are living in poverty. And, 46,000 children in Australia are living in out-of-home care, with an over-representation of these children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Those figures are alarming.

There is, clearly, much more work to be done if we are to achieve a zero level of child abuse and neglect in Australia.
It is in all our interests that every child thrives.

NAPCAN’s theme for National Child Protection Week this year will, I think resonate strongly in the community.

The theme, ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’ strikes at the core of who we are as a people.

We are a people who believe strongly in the notion of a fair go for all.

Children and young people thrive when they grow up safe, connected and supported in their family, community and culture. Positive relationships are critical to their wellbeing.

They have the right to grow up in environments that support them, love them and nurture them.

We know that is not the case for far too many children.

That is why we are all here today — to highlight the issues surrounding Child Protection and to create a better future for children and families.

Of course, these conversations don’t end this week.

National Child Protection Week is just one opportunity to elevate the issue of children’s safety and wellbeing in Australia to a wider community discussion.

We need to have these conversations to drive the development of policy and practice about what we as a society need to do to make sure every child — in every community — has the opportunity to thrive.

And the work goes on year round.

I commend all of you who are already working hard each day — as individuals,  community members, volunteers and workers — to help create communities that support families and children. 

Let me repeat those figures I mentioned earlier: 1 in 6 Australian children are living in poverty; 46,000 children in Australia are living in out-of-home care, with an over-representation of these children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Australia is better than that.

We simply must improve the status quo.

Thank you all, again, for what you do.

It is now my pleasure to launch National Child Protection Week 2022.