MEDIA RELEASE - LABOR WANTS ALL AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN TO BE SAFE ONLINE - 9 FEBRUARY 2019

Joint with the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition. 

A Shorten Labor Government will work to protect a new generation of Australian children from cyber risks by creating a new eSmart Digital Licence that would begin rollout from this year.

The new eSmart licence will arm Australian children with critical digital skills and promote discussion about online safety between young people and their parents, carers and teachers.
 
Created by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, the eSmart licence will help keep children safe from bullying, cyber bullying and violence.
 
From this year Labor would deliver a pilot and independent evaluation of the licence, with a full national rollout to every student commencing Year 3 in 2020.
 
Further announcements will be made about future funding of the program following the evaluation. 
 
The eSmart Digital Licence is one of the most comprehensive online cyber safety resources available, reflecting the Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s digital citizenship principles.
 
It will help build children’s awareness and behaviours, improve their protective and ethical behaviours online and raise their level of digital safety.
 
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek said Labor wants every Australian child to be safe online.
 
“There is clear evidence that digital licences have a positive impact on children’s safety online,” Ms Plibersek said.
 
“For years our kids have been getting a pen licence as they learn to write – this is the pen licence for the digital world.”
 
Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said the internet was providing new opportunities, but also setting new challenges when it came to cyberbullying and online safety.
 
“Labor’s priority is ensuring this digital licence is available to all children, regardless of what school they go to.  It’s crucial all kids can access resources and build skills which help them to be safe online.”  
 
"Improving digital inclusion and enhancing eSafety in Australia requires effort from all sectors, including Government and the not-for-profit and charity sector, and Labor is pleased to support the Alannah & Madeline Foundation in leveraging the good work it does in our community.
 
"Labor understands and respects that schools are best placed to choose the programs that suit the needs of their children and communities. Labor's intention is to roll out the eSmart Digital Licence nationally so the resource is available for any school that wants to take it up.”
 
This commitment will cost $2.5 million and funding would flow from the 2019-20 financial year.