The government is looking for ways to deal with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and wants public input.
It’s caused by pregnant women drinking alcohol and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says an estimated 570 children are born with FASD each year.
They suffer brain damage and are more likely to be difficult to parent, disruptive at school, come into contact with the criminal justice system and develop mental health and addiction problems.
Their own children are likely to be exposed to alcohol during pregnancy.
“This is an issue that spans many parts of our society and thus many agencies,” Mr Dunne says.
“It also spans generations.”
He has issued a discussion document and wants submissions from individuals and interested groups.
Mr Dunne says it’s the first step towards a future action plan.
And he’s urging pregnant women to avoid alcohol during the Christmas period.
“If you’re pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, then the safest approach to alcohol is to avoid it.”