Australia’s fertility rate has fallen dramatically over the last 50 years. In 1961 the fertility rate was 3.5 children per woman. Today it stands at 1.9. As the second Intergenerational report, released in 2007, shows the drop in our fertility rate is one of the main factors contributing to the ageing of our population. This in turn will slow economic growth and the rise in living standards and puts more pressure on the budget in areas like health, aged care and the pension. It is the decisions that we make here and that parents and guardians make that will help us meet the challenge of an ageing population. That is why I am organising this event.
Every child will receive a special certificate welcoming them to our local community, and every mum and dad will get a bag full of helpful parenting information on things like developing babies’ learning and motor skills, breastfeeding, healthy food options, playgroups, immunisation and toilet training. I want to thank Baby Kingdom, Bounty, Centro Bankstown, Inky Feet, Advent, Church and Dwight Co., Gaia Skin Naturals, Nicepak and Nutricia Australia, who have all donated the information and the products that are going in the bags. I also want to thank Bankstown City Council, who have donated a native tree to each family. I also thank Creating Links, Bankstown Community Resource Group and the Benevolent Society’s Brighter Futures program along with Centrelink Bankstown, who are holding information stalls, and Bankstown Family Day Care, GymbaRoo and Bankstown Library’s Lapsit Storytime program, who are going to provide entertainment on the day. Welcoming the Babies promises to be a great event, and I hope it becomes a permanent addition to the Bankstown Children’s Festival.