This report describes the challenges that many of Australia’s children and young people face as a result of where they live. This report calls for more support for children and young people in Australia before, during and after disasters, and an urgent review of government policies. For children and young people, the consequence of trauma from these events can change the trajectory of their lives, impacting mental health, education and employment. For those in rural and remote areas, the effects have been compounded by the triple crises of bushfires, drought and COVID-19.
The report finds that children and young people are particularly susceptible to the impacts of natural disasters like bushfires, and governments, non-government agencies and philanthropic organisations need to urgently invest in research, policies and programs to strengthen their resilience following these events. The key recommendations of the report are:
- commissioning a review of relevant policies and frameworks that guide disaster planning, response and recovery efforts to ensure the unique needs of children are specifically identified and addressed;
- funding mental health and wellbeing programs in rural and remote communities;
- increased education for communities about the impact of disasters on children, and;
- establishing a panel of preferred providers that are ‘fit for purpose’ to respond quickly in the event of a natural disaster or emergency event that can provide relief and long term recovery programs for children.