Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Consultations begin on Family Support Program

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, today met with family support service providers in Hobart at the start of a national consultation process on ways to further improve the Australian Government’s $1 billion Family Support Program.

Today’s meeting is the first of 12 face-to-face consultations taking place in February and March around Australia, including in regional and remote areas.

Ms Collins said the nationwide consultations will be used to examine and advance ideas put forward in submissions to a discussion paper on the Family Support Program.

“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the Family Support Program is relevant and valuable to those who need it most,” Ms Collins said.

“Through the discussion paper, we have received some excellent feedback on what parts of the Program are working well and on how other things can be improved.

“These consultations are a chance to flesh out some of the ideas raised in the more than 100 submissions to the discussion paper.

“The Family Support Program is making a significant difference to the lives of children and families across Australia – assisting more than 800,000 Australians in 2012.

“Here in Tasmania, in 2012, more than 32,000 people were able to access the program’s specialist services, such as parenting programs, relationship counselling, playgroups and more intensive support for vulnerable children at risk of neglect or abuse.

“These services are improving family wellbeing, assisting parents to break entrenched cycles of disadvantage and helping children get the best start in life.

“The current Family Support Program was established in 2011 to improve the coordination of services and to reduce red tape so service providers can spend more time doing what they do best – supporting children and families.”