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New agreement signals greater co-operation on intercountry adoption in Australia.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

NEWS RELEASE

27 July 067/2008

NEW AGREEMENT SIGNALS GREATER CO-OPERATION ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION IN AUSTRALIA

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced the signing of a new Agreement between the Australian Government and States and Territories on intercountry adoption.

“I welcome this Agreement, which reflects the commitment of all jurisdictions to work together to improve the intercountry adoption system in Australia,” Mr McClelland said.

The original Agreement was signed in 1998 to enable Australia’s ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Convention aims to ensure that the best interests of children are always a primary consideration in the international adoption process.

“The Agreement sets out the new division of responsibilities between governments, helping to reduce the bureaucratic barriers to intercountry adoption. It also establishes two working groups, which will consider greater harmonisation of intercountry adoption laws, fees and assessment processes,” Mr McClelland said.

“Work will also be undertaken to consider what further improvements can be made to the administration of intercountry adoption in Australia.”

The new Agreement implements a number of key recommendations of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Human Services’ report, Overseas Adoption in Australia.

"The Rudd Government is committed to reforming Australia’s overseas adoption system, while always ensuring the best interests of the child is put first," Mr McClelland said.

On 29-30 July 2008, the second meeting of the National Peak Overseas Adoption Support Group will be held in Canberra.

The Group provides a direct voice to Government on the issues concerning the intercountry adoption community.

The new Agreement is available at: http://www.ag.gov.au

Media Contact: Glen Paul 0417 066 497.