victorian communities commit to listening to children in planning and decision-making processes
Thanks to the creation of the Victorian Charter for Child Friendly Cities and Communities, local governments and community organisations across the State are making a commitment to include our young citizens in planning and decision-making.
The Charter was officially launched by Bernie Geary OAM, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People, Cr Samantha Dunn, President of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and primary school student, Ben Arnett on Tuesday 15 October, ahead of Children's Week 2013 which runs from 19 to 27 October.
|It was terrific to be joined by Mayor of Moreland, |
Cr Oscar Yildiz, Ben, Gwendolyn and Bernie Geary,
Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People
at the launch of the charter out at CERES.
“The VLGA believes children’s participation in the local decision-making process is vital to improve and develop services.
“Children are active citizens and have the right and an ability to help shape their own environments. We need to recognise those rights and need to actively involve children in decision-making around issues which will affect their wellbeing and the environments that they are living and growing up in.
“This Charter provides a set of guiding principles - freedom, respect and dignity and equitable access, which will help to empower our youngest citizens.
“The Charter will assist local governments and community organisations to work in conversation with children on creating places, policies and programs which fully consider their needs.
“We see the Charter as a tool to changing the thinking in local government, where the rights of children will become clearly reflected in community planning and building.
“Being a child friendly city means developing appropriate and inclusive policies and services reflecting children’s needs, acknowledging their important role in society and building their confidence in other processes including democracy,” said Cr Dunn.
Bernie Geary OAM, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People advocated his support for the Charter, advising that children have the ability to offer a different perspective from adults.
"I am delighted to launch the Victorian Charter for Child Friendly Cities and Communities, which represents a significant step forward in terms of advancing the position of Victorian children and ensuring their interests, needs and opinions are reflected in public policy, programs and decision making,” said Principal Commissioner Geary OAM.
“I strongly encourage local governments to embrace the Charter and its principles of child-focused environments, respect and dignity for children's opinions and participation, and equitable access for all children regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or ability.”
The Charter is an initiative of the VLGA and the Victorian Child Friendly Cities Asia Pacific Network.