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Outcomes of the Ministerial Forum on Child Safety

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

Today I chaired a Ministerial Forum on Child Safety, bringing together Commonwealth, state and territory ministers to discuss national reforms to prevent child sexual abuse in Australia.

The release of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Final Report in 2017 turned the spotlight onto the darkest corners of society. The Ministerial Forum reinforces ongoing government commitments to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in all settings, and supporting victims and survivors.

Participants in the Ministerial Forum reaffirmed existing child safety reforms, emphasising the need to ensure national consistency to protect Australia's children.

This included prioritising working with children check harmonisations, ensuring this work complements broader worker screening reforms, renewed commitment to embedding the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations in legislation, and options to enhance sharing child safety and wellbeing information across sectors and jurisdictions. These options include possible legislation and administrative arrangements for an information sharing scheme as recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

Participants also agreed to further consider options to improve child safety through enhancing monitoring of working with children checks, raising awareness and understanding of child safety issues, and alignment of jurisdictional reportable conduct schemes.

This is consistent with the Australian Government's National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy, which is driving reforms to worker screening arrangements to increase the safety for care and support recipients, boost productivity, drive competition, and improve labour mobility.

In October, we released Australia's first national campaign aimed at preventing child sexual abuse. The 'One Talk at a Time' campaign aims to increase the national conversation about child sexual abuse to protect children and young people and reduce shame and stigma for victims and survivors.

Every child and young person has the right to be safe from child sexual abuse, and it is our collective responsibility to protect them. Governments, organisations and individuals all have a role to play in creating safe environments for children and young people, and that is why we all need to continue having 'one talk at a time'.

For more information on the Australian Government's implementation of the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021-2030 and resources to help keep children safe, visit the ChildSafety website.