The Morrison Government has today provided its response to the Productivity Commission’s final Expenditure on Children in the Northern Territory report which outlines in-principle support for the suggested reforms.
The Productivity Commission report made 11 recommendations over four reform areas focusing on cooperative and collaborative funding, improved data, and stronger supporting institutions.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston and Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to improving outcomes for children and families living in the Northern Territory.
“The Commonwealth provided $225 million in 2018-19 to support services aimed at children and young people specifically in the NT with a number of positive reforms being implemented across governments,” Minister Ruston said.
“But despite significant funding we understand the importance of improved collaboration to reduce gaps as well as double ups in the services being offered as we aim to achieve better child safety and wellbeing outcomes in the NT.
“Our Government is committed to working with the NT Government to coordinate funding, engage and work with communities and to improve the way we capture and share data.”
Minister Wyatt noted the importance of continuing engagement with the community sector, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities.
“We are already working on a number of recommendations through our involvement in the Children and Families Tripartite Forum as well as building the capacity of Aboriginal organisations and increasing the participation of communities in the design of grant activities,” Minister Wyatt said.
“This commitment is evident in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which has been developed in genuine partnership between all Australian governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations.”
The Morrison Government has committed an additional $1 million to the Tripartite Forum to progress a number of key Productivity Commission recommendations including data alignment between governments and building community sector capacity. It comes on top of the $1 million provided in June 2020.
Assistant Minister for Children and Families Michelle Landry said we continue to operate under unusual circumstances as a result of COVID-19.
“Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated good practice which can be built on but it also produced unprecedented challenges,” Assistant Minister Landry said.
“It is crucial that we collectively engage so that we can effectively address the issues affecting children and families in this part of the nation.”
The Commonwealth will continue to progress reforms outlined in the Productivity Commission’s report through its role in the Children and Families Tripartite Forum which is meeting in Alice Springs today.
To read the Australian Government’s response visit: www.dss.gov.au/australian-government-response-to-the-productivity-commissions-expenditure-on-children-in-the-northern-territory-final-report