1. Establish a National COVID-19 taskforce to lead a recovery plan
The establishment of a National COVID-19 taskforce focused on children, young people and their families and carers, is crucial to promoting the recovery of children and young people from the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic. A collaborative National COVID-19 taskforce will enable a coordinated whole-of-government policy approach that benefits our younger generations.
Australia’s federal system of government means that responsibility for child health and wellbeing services, programs and policies, fall across multiple agencies within different tiers of government. While the Federal Government has a key role in providing national leadership it is also critical that there is strong collaboration with States and Territories. The National Chief Paediatrician (see Ask 2 in the campaign) and the National Children’s Commissioner should be appointed as co-chairs of the National COVID-19 taskforce, which should have broad representation. This key leadership will ensure there is an evidence-informed approach to the development and roll out of the national COVID-19 recovery plan that is child-centred.
The impacts of COVID-19 have impacted many areas of children’s lives, including their family and social connections, education, access to health services and mental health. It has also had a disproportionate impact on culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Indigenous communities, and families from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
A coordinated policy approach that includes States and Territories will facilitate successful implementation of key initiatives and programs.
The voices of children, young people, families and carers are too often left out of the policy-making process, and we support including these voices, particularly from priority groups, and ensuring there are mechanisms for codesign/participation throughout the process. These groups should have a strong voice in shaping the development of policies relevant to their health and wellbeing.