4 December 2023

Inaugural roundtable of Investment Dialogue for Australia's Children


Joint media release with
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
Minister for Social Services

Leading philanthropic organisations have partnered with the Albanese Government to improve the wellbeing of children and address entrenched community disadvantage, committing millions of dollars towards new initiatives and laying out a vision for investment over the next decade.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth and Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney today joined 20 philanthropic partners for the inaugural roundtable of the Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children.

This initiative forms part of the $199.8 million package to target entrenched disadvantage announced in the May Budget, which has a strong focus on place-based, community-led change.

The Investment Dialogue has a vision of an inclusive and equitable Australia where all children, families and communities can fulfil their potential.

It will support greater collaboration and coordination of government and philanthropic investments to improve outcomes for communities.

Roundtable outcomes

1. Working Together Agreement

Participants today signed the Working Together Agreement – outlining a shared commitment to a long-term collaboration to improve the wellbeing of children, young people, and their families.

Core commitments from the Agreement include:

  • Collaboration – commitment to working across sectors and in partnership with communities to support community-led strategies for change.
  • Long-term approach – commitment to deliver lasting, intergenerational change for those who face disproportionate levels of disadvantage, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with disability, and those from diverse cultures.
  • Community led – commitment to work in partnership with communities that have solutions driven by local data and lived experience.
  • Meaningful outcomes – commitment to make a real and positive difference.
  • Continual improvement – commitment to evaluation and evidence-based approaches.

2. Millions of dollars’ worth of new initiatives

Philanthropic Dialogue members have made $65 million in philanthropic commitments towards new projects and initiatives aligned to the Investment Dialogue’s vision.

This funding will support improved outcomes for children and families, including programs for children experiencing developmental delays and First Nations-led education and youth employment initiatives.

It will also help enable community-led change through investments in workforce capacity building and funding for integrated data solutions.  

3. Community voices

Participants agreed to embed community voices in Investment Dialogue discussions through the establishment of a Community Leadership Council and a First Nations Leadership Council.

These Councils will ensure the Dialogue reflects the priorities of local communities, and builds on community-led efforts already underway across Australia to improve the lives of children and families.

Quotes attributable to Treasurer Jim Chalmers:

Today’s meeting was an important step in addressing entrenched disadvantaged in a coordinated and collaborative way in communities like my own right across the country.

Action in the early years of a child’s life – including through health, education and protection from harm – is key to breaking cycles of disadvantage.

This is about empowering local leaders by ensuring that Government and philanthropy work together to maximise our efforts – and ultimately delivering the best value for disadvantaged communities and children.

Coordination of our investment priorities – aligning government efforts with the substantial investments of the philanthropic community is crucial if we’re going to make progress on addressing disadvantage.

Quotes attributable to Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth:

Disadvantage is a complex problem which no single policy, government department, organisation or entity can solve. But in order to make a tangible difference across generations, partnerships are key.

Regularly I hear through consultations, including as part of our work on the Early Years Strategy, how important it is to prioritise coordinated services that communities want and that are shown to make a difference within these communities.

Establishing firm partnerships between government, philanthropy and with communities – and, importantly, empowering those communities with the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions – will help us to tackle the pockets of entrenched disadvantage that exist.

We owe it to all Australians, and particularly Australia’s children, to tackle entrenched disadvantage in our communities. The Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children will help in achieving our goal.

Quotes attributable to Paul Ramsay Foundation CEO Professor Kristy Muir:

“We’re thrilled to see this important collaboration between government and philanthropy take the first steps in building a new, more integrated approach that better supports children, young people and their communities.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a real difference with innovation across sectors, in partnership with communities, to empower children and their families through a collaborative effort.”

Quotes attributable to The Bryan Foundation Executive Director Matthew Cox:

“The Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children is about backing local leaders to implement community-led plans drive intergenerational change by better supporting children and their families.

“This investment will provide greater firepower to proven strategies like holistic child and family services in community centres and schools, joined-up child and maternal health services, and First Nations-led family and child support models.”

Quotes attributable to The Ian Potter Foundation CEO Paul Conroy:

“This is the first step of a more integrated approach which also has systems change at its heart.

“We look forward to working closely with government, our philanthropic peers, sector and community leaders to map out the Investment Dialogue processes so we can build on the strengths which already exist and help fill the gaps where funding and coordination can make a meaningful difference.”