The 2019-20 Annual Report of the Commissioner for Children and Young People was tabled today in the Tasmanian Parliament.
The Commissioner for Children and Young People Leanne McLean said the Report includes her work during the period when Tasmania’s children and young people were first confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As Tasmanian’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, I’m firmly committed to monitoring and advocating for the rights and wellbeing of all children and young people,” Ms McLean said.
“In February 2020 I released my report Investing in the Wellbeing of Tasmania’s Children and Young People, in which I recommended a whole-of-government approach to prioritising the wellbeing of Tasmania’s children and young people.
“It is therefore pleasing that in his March 2020 State of the State address, the Premier Peter Gutwein announced the development of Tasmania’s first comprehensive, long-term, whole-of-government Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.
“In April 2020 I published Monitoring and Advocacy During COVID-19 – a framework outlining the focus of my monitoring and advocacy work during the response phase of the pandemic.
“I have been particularly interested in hearing about how Tasmania’s children and young people have experienced the pandemic and how it has affected their wellbeing.
“Some children and young people have told me that aspects of their lives have improved as a result of COVID-19 — they have enjoyed spending more time at home with loved ones.
“With increased Federal Government support measures, some have also enjoyed better access to basic material needs. With the phasing out of these measures, these children may return to poverty, which concerns me greatly.”
The Commissioner also noted that for many children and young people with whom she has spoken, life during the pandemic has been a challenge.
“Being separated from family and friends or missing normal activities was frequently raised by children and young people as having a negative impact on their wellbeing.
“Also, sadly, during Tasmania’s lockdown, some children and young people experienced more time in households where they felt unsafe or were unable to access the services and supports they needed.
“I also commented on draft legislation and made submissions on a range of issues that have the potential to affect the lives of Tasmania’s children and young people, informed by the views of children and young people.
“My Annual Plan for 2020-21 (available on my website), sets out how I will continue to represent the wellbeing, views and best interests of children and young people in Tasmania into the future.”