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Government tables response to Senate Committee inquiry: Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet

The Turnbull Government today tabled its response to a Senate References Committee on Environment and Communications report on Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet.  

The Committee’s report made four recommendations, including:

  1. Commissioning dedicated research into the exposure and impact of pornography on children and young people;
  2. Establishing an expert panel from a range of fields, including child protection agencies, education and law enforcement to investigate future policy measures and make recommendations to government;
  3. That state and territory governments consider the adequacy of their current policies in relation to child protection matters; and 
  4. Examining the adequacy of information currently available to parents, guardians and teachers on how to keep children safe online, and how to promote existing resources more effectively.  

The Government supports recommendations 1, 2, and 4 and notes recommendation 3 as it refers to State and Territory Government matters.

The Government is already addressing the issue of online safety through a range of existing initiatives, which will be harnessed to address the recommendations.  

The Online Safety Consultative Working Group (OSCWG), chaired by the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, is already actively engaging with experts in the field of child protection and provides advice to government on improving the safety of Australian children online.  

The Government has asked the OSCWG to expand its scope of work to inform potential policy responses to address the harmful impact of pornography on children. The OSCWG will also be tasked with reviewing research into this issue.  

The Commissioner’s office also provides extensive assistance and resources to children, parents and teachers about avoiding harmful situations and staying safe online, including the iParent website.

The Government is committed to providing specialised support and information to the community and will continue to work with the Commissioner’s Office to deliver on this commitment.  

The Committee’s report and the Government’s response is available at: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Onlineaccesstoporn45/Report