Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

New approach to addressing disadvantage in Burnie

Joint Media Release with:

  • Sid Sidebottom MP, Member for Braddon

The Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, and Member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom, today visited Centacare’s Communities for Children service, one of the frontline services supporting young children and parents in Burnie.

Burnie is one of 10 sites across the country selected to trial the Gillard Government’s new approach to addressing disadvantage for teenage parents and jobless families with young children, announced in the recent Federal Budget.

This includes a $47 million investment over four years for new measures to help teenage parents finish school and support their children.

Speaking at the Burnie Civic Plaza, Ms Collins said services like Centacare’s mobile parenting resource, part of its Communities for Children service, would support the Government’s efforts by reaching out to parents and children.

“This Gillard Government wants teen parents to have the opportunity to return to their studies and prepare for work,” Ms Collins said.

“We are giving them the support and access to services they need to make this possible.”

From 1 January 2012, teen parents in Burnie receiving Parenting Payment with a child aged six months or older will have new supports and responsibilities to learn life skills, get a good education and give their child the best start in life.

“Teen parents will work closely with Centrelink to develop a participation plan with activities to support this, and work with Centrelink until they complete Year 12 or equivalent study, or until their youngest child turns six,” Ms Collins said.

“They will also have support with the expansion of Centacare’s Communities for Children service and access to child care while they are studying or training, with almost 100 per cent of the cost covered.

“It will help ensure local parents and their children don’t miss out on the opportunities a good education provides,” Ms Collins said.

Mr Sidebottom said the Gillard Government was also investing $71 million to support jobless families with new participation requirements, which will begin in Burnie and the nine other communities from 1 July 2012.

“We are addressing unemployment in our region by directing support at parents who have been on income support for more than two years or are under 23 years of age and not working and studying full time,” Mr Sidebottom said.

“Jobless parents will have compulsory interviews and workshops with Centrelink where staff will help them set employment goals, provide information on education and training opportunities and connect them with job, child care and early intervention services.

“These families will also be supported by Communities for Children, and the extension of the Jobs Education Training Child Care Fee Assistance program to 52 weeks will give eligible parents access to affordable child care.

“The Government is also investing $25 million across the ten sites for a Local Solutions Fund which will support programs to boost engagement and workforce participation, including in Burnie.

“We will be working closely with local organisations to deliver programs to improve access the services to find a job or access educational opportunities. This could be transport to attend interviews in communities with poor public transport, mentoring and support for jobless teenage parents to help them into study or work or the creation of new social enterprise businesses that will give job seekers a start in the workforce,” Mr Sidebottom said.