Children at the heart of national economic stimulus
10 March 2020
The looming threat of recession will impact harshly on children, young people and their families.
Members of the Every Child alliance – an alliance of 50+ organisations across Australia – have met and agreed that the Federal Government must urgently roll-out an economic stimulus package that mitigates against the risk of deepening hardship and family stress.
Co-Chairs of the Every Child alliance, Dr Kirsty Nowlan and Simon Schrapel, are calling on the Federal Government to implement a major economic stimulus package that features a $2 billion support package for children and young people.
“Family pressures and the risk of harm to children and young people are known to escalate in tough economic times,” said Dr Nowlan.
“We urge the Federal Government to implement a $2 billion Thriving Children stimulus package. This package would stimulate local economies through a major building program of 200 multi-service hubs around Australia equipped with health, early childhood, housing and financial support staff and more to support children and families.”
The package features:
- $1 billion for 100 purpose built multi-service hubs – each hub would cost $8m to build and $2 million to staff.
- $1 billion for 100 community-controlled hubs to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families.
Last month Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell uncovered disturbing evidence on the wellbeing of Australian children and young people:
- 17% of children under the age of 15 years live in poverty.
- One in seven children aged four to 17 were diagnosed with mental health disorders in a 12-month period, and rates of suicide and self-harm are increasing.
“We must elevate the needs of children as a nation-building priority especially when tough times hit,” Dr Nowlan added. “More families will be struggling to make ends meet – to pay housing, energy and school costs.
“The Thriving Children program would provide unprecedented access to wrap-around and outreach support for children, young people and families through one-stop support hubs in communities across Australia. Currently services are fragmented and agencies operate in silos. It’s hard for families to get support and follow-up early, before problems get to a crisis point.
“This is a time when leaders must be bold and courageous – a time to implement nation-building economic stimulus that can benefit children, families, communities and businesses.”
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