Commission for children and young people: Still work to be done
20 November 1998
NCOSS today welcomed the passing of legislation to establish a Commission for Children and Young People.

"This Commission has the potential to act for and with children and young people to greatly improve their access to information, services and complaints systems, and to bring to the Government's and the community's attention issues of significance to their well-being," said Director, Gary Moore. "it is a crucial step forward in making children and young people more central to policy decisions in this State."

However, Mr Moore also noted that there were a number of important issues that still need to be addressed.

"There is still a huge amount of work to be done to make sure we get employment screening right," said Mr Moore. "The strength of this section of the Bill will depend on its implementation."

NCOSS also noted the critical importance of the Commission acting, and being seen to act, independently of Government.

"We will be closely monitoring the special inquiry powers of the Commission," said Mr Moore.

The failure of the legislation to include an advocacy function for young people has been a general disappointment and Mr Moore advised that NCOSS would expect the Government to request the Commissioner to make an advocacy inquiry an immediate priority, as promised by the Minister.

"The choice of Commissioner will largely determine the effectiveness of the new body," noted Mr Moore. " It must be someone who has credibility with the broadest range of stakeholders and who can make the Commission a visible presence in the community."