The Hon. Tony Abbott MP
Today I have committed the Commonwealth Government to delivering reform on overseas adoption.
The issue of adoption is very important to many people in our community.
Where there are children who legitimately need a safe and loving home, and where there are people who dream of being able to provide that home, we are committed to streamlining arrangements to enable them to come together.
It is clear that change is needed in this area and that the issues deserve attention at the highest levels of government.
The Commonwealth Government will work with premiers and chief ministers to try to ensure overseas adoption is working in the best way possible. Last week, the Council of Australian Government (COAG) agreed to put the subject of overseas adoption on the agenda for our next meeting in April 2014.
I have asked my Department to establish and chair an interdepartmental committee on overseas adoption. The committee will consult extensively and report to me in March 2014 including on the immediate steps that could be taken to make inter-country adoption easier and faster for Australian couples.
The committee’s report will help to inform discussion at the next COAG meeting in April 2014.
I do not underestimate the complexity of the work to be undertaken in this area. I recognise the need to have a broad and inclusive discussion about proposed change to ensure that, as a community, we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Still, there has been much discussion about streamlining arrangements for overseas adoption in recent years, but very little action. The Commonwealth Government is committed to working with our state and territory colleagues and stakeholders in this area, including the non-government sector, to ensure we deliver reform on this very important issue.