Australia basically gets a good report cardfrom the OECD in its first ever study of child well-being in its 30 member countries. The OECD believes Australian child policies are getting solid value for money from spending just below the OECD average.
Australia does well for children in terms of good outcomes in both housing and environment (where it comes top of the class) and educational well‐being.
Notwithstanding these successes, says the report called “Doing Better for Children”, more could be done for Australia’s children in terms of both material and health outcomes.
As is common across the OECD, Australia spends considerably more on older than on younger children. For every Australian dollar spent on a child under 6, around $1.50 is spent on a child aged 6 to 17. Like the rest of the OECD, Australia could benefit from spending relatively more on young, disadvantaged children.
Reflecting patterns of spending, material conditions for Australian children are solid rather than spectacular. Family incomes and child poverty rates are around the OECD average. However the number of Australian children who lack a key set of educational possessions is slightly above the middle of the OECD.
Australia does well in terms of housing and the local environment in which children grow up. One in five Australian children lives in crowded conditions compared to just under one in three on average across the OECD. And only one in ten Australian children endures poor local environmental conditions, compared to one in four on average across the OECD.
Australian children also do well at school. Average educational performance in Australia compares well to other countries (6th best in the OECD). Moreover, the gap between the high and low performing children is smaller than in most OECD countries (the 6th best in the OECD).