Submission: Inquiry into Raising Children in the ACT

30 May 2024

The Government’s Standing Committee on Health and Community Well-being held this Inquiry to obtain evidence on the factors that influence the timing, number and spacing of children in ACT families. It was designed to shed light on why the ACT has the lowest Total Fertility Rate in Australia and to identify policies that could help bridge the gap between desired and actual family size.

ACTCOSS’ submission emphasised that providing the conditions most favourable for the healthy development of children is the best way of enabling families to have the number of children that they would like.

It also noted that the international trend toward below-replacement fertility rates means that societies need to find ways of extending health span and working lives while providing alternative social support to take the place of children, siblings and extended family in coming generations.

Recommendations included:

  • Developing while-of-government strategies to protect expectant parents and families with children from exposure to toxic stress through the provision and funding of relevant services;
  • Developing and implementing policies to increase access to paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements including in the community sector;
  • Replicating Early Childhood Schools across the ACT and providing universal, free Early Childhood Education and Care in hubs with wrap-around services, particularly designed to meet the needs of the most marginalised families; and
  • Promoting gender balance in unpaid domestic and caring work.


ACTCOSS_Raising Children Submission_May2024 (docx)
ACTCOSS_Raising Children Submission_May2024 (pdf)
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