Policy Submission: Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010
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The Julia Farr Association makes this submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010.
The Julia Farr Association believes that the present inquiry into the establishment of a Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People is necessary to respond to the particular vulnerability of children living with disability to maltreatment due to factors such as:
- Insufficient social and community supports being available for the child and their family resulting in increased stress on the family unit. The Julia Farr Association has identified through extensive consultation with the disability community using our tellus© disability survey, that 89% of families who responded to the survey and provided informal support to a loved one living with disability aged under 18 years, highlighted that this had a direct impact on their lifestyle which led to stressful experiences;
- Insufficient financial resources available to the family unit. Evidence suggests there is “a strong association between the prevalence of disability and low income”;
- Children living with disability being perceived as easy targets due to impaired decision-making and communication barriers;
- Children living with disability being reliant on others to provide the support they need.
This inquiry is also timely in the current environment. There is national commitment on “improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers” through the National Disability Strategy. Further, there is international acknowledgement of the social disadvantage that children living with disability experience, and emphasis through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by the Australian Government in July 2008, that measures are put in place to ensure “the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an
equal basis with other children”.
This inquiry into the Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010 provides the opportunity to assess ways in which the Australian Government can further its commitment to promoting and protecting the rights and needs of children and young people living with disability.
Inclusion of specific reference to meeting international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in section ‘3 (3) Objects’ of the Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010.
Inclusion of specific reference to advancing the status of children and young people living with disability in section ‘9 (1) (c) Functions and powers of the Commissioner’ of the Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010
Section 10(a) of the Bill to be changed to include reference to abilities:
- ‘consult with children and young people in ways appropriate to their age, maturity and abilities’, so that all children and young people, including those living with disability, have the opportunity to express their views.