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Australia presents report on rights of the child.

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1 October 2003 115/03



Better coordination of policies and monitoring mechanisms for the welfare of children are among key achievements in Australia's latest report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I presented the report to the Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Professor Jacob Doek, in Geneva yesterday.

The Convention, ratified in Australia in December 1990, plays a significant role in raising awareness of children's rights and in acting as a catalyst for change where necessary.

Australia has always been supportive of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention and is a signatory to both of them.

We have already provided practical support for these protocols in the form of international aid programs and new legislation establishing new offences in relation to sexual servitude and the sale of and trafficking in people for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

This report is only the first stage in the periodic review of the implementation of the Convention in Australia.

The UN Committee will now consider Australia's report after which the Government will attend a meeting of the Committee for further discussions.

This report demonstrates the special place that children hold in Australian society.

High levels of effort and resources are committed to ensuring that Australian children are able to reach their full potential and that the rights to be found in the Convention are available to them.

While the States and Territories have primary responsibility under the Constitution for most children's matters, the Australian Government implements its commitment to children through a wide range of initiatives

and programs.

The Government recognises that families have primary responsibility for the growth and development of the nation?s children.

Strong family and community networks that nurture children and provide effective social support are the building blocks of society.

Media Contact: Carina Tan-Van Baren (02) 6277 7300/ 0419 423 965