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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2163 ..

children together, IMPACT program, that provides mental health and opiate replacement support for families; and the integrated family support program and Indigenous integrated family support program.

Madam Assistant Speaker, I also want to draw your attention to the other significant investments that we have made that directly enhance the lives of our children. They are: the establishment of two child and family centres; the creation of four early childhood schools; and the appointment of a commissioner for children and young people.

However, many other developments have occurred in the way we deliver services and programs to children and their families. Of course, all of this could not have been achieved without the governance mechanisms to bring government agencies together to undertake work to ensure the children’s rights and needs are up-front and foremost in decisions made by government. It could also not have been achieved without the dedication of our community sector who are strongly committed to maintaining close partnerships with government in supporting children and families.

Madam Assistant Speaker, you could ask: where does the concept and vision for a child friendly city come from? In affirming and refreshing the directions for the ACT children’s plan, the latest research and evidence was analysed to find out what is needed to foster children’s healthy development. This research confirmed that children and young people matter, that the quality of childhood and adolescence matters and that the support provided to parents and families matters. This research also confirmed again the interconnectedness of children with their families, their communities and their environments. This means that we need to consider the interconnections in all our planning and decision making. The quality of our services, our built environment, our parks, our schools and our transport system all impact on children’s development.

We also spoke directly with children and families to find out what was important to them. This task was aided by an enormous number of dedicated professionals—childcare educators, teachers, playgroup coordinators and nurses. The response to this consultation was overwhelming. Over 850 children and adults offered their ideas and insights on how to make Canberra more child friendly. These ideas have been built into the new plan and are summarised in “Listening to children—a consultation process for a child friendly city”. Not only will this document help inform government as it moves forward, but it can also be used as a guide for anyone interested in encouraging children’s participation.

By committing to make Canberra Australia’s child friendly capital, the ACT becomes part of a growing international movement promoted and supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund. This movement applies the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into the fabric of government. It is an agenda that firmly places us as a national leader committed to improving children’s rights and wellbeing.

I would like to draw attention to the six building blocks to make Canberra a child friendly city: first, opportunities for children to influence decisions about their lives in their city and to actively participate in their communities; second, advocacy, promotion and protection of children’s rights; third, processes to assess the impact of

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