The NSW Government today introduced a Bill to create a new Advocate for Children and Young People who will represent the interests of all people under 25 years of age and give them a strong voice on policies and programs which impact on their lives.
The Advocate for Children and Young People Bill 2014 creates an independent statutory office to replace the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP), which was established in 1999.
“The Bill brings together in the one office all of the important features of the CCYP and the functions of the NSW Youth Advisory Council (YAC). The YAC will maintain its direct access and line of reporting to the Minister responsible for Youth under the changes.
“It is a reform that provides a sound structure to work collaboratively on agreed priorities and combine efforts across government and non-government agencies in NSW.
“The new Advocate will be responsible for preparing, in consultation with me, a three-year strategic plan for children and young people.
“For the first time there will be a whole-of-government strategy addressing the challenges and opportunities facing children and young people in our state,” Mr Dominello said.
Mr Dominello said the transfer of responsibilities for the Working With Children Check from the CCYP to the Children’s Guardian in 2013 provided an opportunity to clarify and strengthen the NSW Government’s approach to advocacy for children and young people.
“This decision created a unique opportunity for a root-and-branch review and I am proud to say that these reforms come after the most extensive public consultation in the CCYP’s history,” he said.
Mr Dominello said the Strengthening advocacy for children and young people in NSW report, released in December 2013, encapsulated the views of over 900 children and young people and more than 40 organisations.
“We visited 34 school classrooms and held two public forums as part of the Speak Up! consultation which provided an invaluable snapshot of the views of children and young people and key stakeholders.
“This Bill demonstrates the NSW Government’s commitment to ensuring children and young people are well represented with an effective and fresh approach to advocacy,” he said.
Youth Action NSW Managing Director Emily Jones welcomed the Bill and said, “We are very supportive of the decision to create a whole-of-government strategic plan.”
Media contact: Matt Dawson 0427 145 575