The Alannah & Madeline Foundation welcomes the Online Safety Act

in News

With the passing of the Online Safety Act in the Senate, the Government is fulfilling its 2019 election commitment to keeping Australians safe online. Reform of existing online safety legislation is needed to ensure Australia is ready and able to deal with new and emerging issues. 

We welcome a flexible framework that can address these issues, keep up with developing services and platforms and improve transparency and accountability of online service providers. It will also allow the eSafety Commissioner greater powers to take down harmful materials.

While legislation is an important step in improving the online environment for all Australians, it is only part of the solution.

We’re focused on keeping children and young people safe online and ensuring their rights within the digital world are upheld. It is vital that children’s understandings of the digital environment, their digital skills and their capacity to consent are considered in regulation, policy and designing services.

Children must be listened to and involved in these processes. They should also be able to connect, learn and create online and develop into engaged and ethical digital citizens.

It should be acknowledged that while the technology/digital industry is increasingly facing new regulatory frameworks in line with changing community expectations, industry and government both have important roles to play in the prevention and education space for all consumers. We strongly advocate that change involves all key stakeholders, working together to build a safe online environment.

It is critical to acknowledge the role of civil society and not-for-profit organisations with established track records in connecting, educating and supporting schools, families and building community understanding, and learning to ensure that citizens are reached and engaged.

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