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Our Children, Our Future

Thu 17 May 2012

Michelle O'Byrne

Minister for Children

The Minister for Children, Michelle O'Byrne, said more than $102 million had been allocated for children in this year's State Budget.

This includes more than $95 million in the Department of Health and Human Services Budget for children's services, funding for the Commissioner for Children and more than $5 million in the Department of Education Budget.

Ms O'Byrne said the State Government is committed to doing everything possible to ensure Tasmanian children are nurtured, educated and protected.

"We have done all that we can to shield this area of Government from the need to find savings in response to the repercussions of the global financial crisis," she said.

"That continues in this year's budget with children's services exempted from having to deliver the increased savings asked of other Government departments."

However, Ms O'Byrne said there was significant work ahead in children's services as the Government continued its program of reforms.

"Earlier this week, I announced the Tasmanian Government Response to the Select Committee on Child Protection's final report which sets out a whole-of-government approach to supporting children, young people and their families.

"That response, Sharing Responsibility for Our Children, Young People and Their Families, will be implemented over coming years and overseen by a new Cabinet Sub-committee.

"We are committed to a public health approach, which calls for a shift from seeing 'protecting children' merely as a response to abuse and neglect to one of promoting the safety and wellbeing of all children.

"We are committed to protecting Tasmanian's children from harm, helping them grow and thrive, and helping those young people in trouble to get back on track so all Tasmanian children can enjoy useful, productive lives."

Ms O'Byrne said the Government has also allocated $10 million in the 2012-13 State Budget to complete four Child and Family Centres.

"These centres will be located in Chigwell, Derwent Valley, Burnie and George Town," she said.

"This is the final phase of a four-year project totalling $34.5 million to construct 11 Child and Family Centres throughout Tasmania."

In addition, $3.4 million will be spent on completing and commencing the operation of the Bridgewater CFC and its Geeveston annex.

"Communities have embraced these centres, helping to shape them during planning and to decide what services they will deliver to improve the health, wellbeing, education and care of their very young children.

"A further $454,000 has also been included in the Budget to continue support for the employment of new staff to manage and operate the services of the new Child and Family Centres as they commence operations."

Ms O'Byrne said the Government continued to support the independent role of the Commissioner for Children and would increase funding to the office this financial year.

Our Children, Our Future