The federal treasurer says he is alarmed at the rising mental distress of children under state lockdowns.

“As a dad, I’m like you – I care about the health of my children,” Josh Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.

There is a “shadow pandemic” of the mental toll on children who are struggling from being out of the classroom, away from their friends and not seeing grandparents, he said.

The numbers presenting at emergency departments in Melbourne are “pretty alarming and confronting”, at more than 340 teenagers per week.

This is a 163 per cent increase on pre-pandemic numbers.

NSW is seeing a 50 per cent rise.

“When it comes to kids, we’ve got to be very conscious of what the medical experts tell us about the impact on children,” Mr Frydenberg said.

He said every MP is being contacted by families about the pressures that lockdowns are having on them and the need to get children back to school.

“Let’s all work to that goal, and certainly let’s work to that national plan.”

The plan calls for an opening up when the adult community gets to 70 and 80 per cent vaccination coverage.

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