Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Celebrating National Families Week in Tasmania

The Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, today joined Tasmanian families at a multicultural celebration and barbecue on the lawns of the Glenorchy City Council to mark National Families Week 2011.

The Gillard Government provided $20,000 to Centacare Tasmania to run the Think Family Think Community event as part of the $400,000 initiative which aims to strengthen family relationships through activities such as music and arts events and community BBQs.

Speaking at the Glenorchy City Council, Ms Collins said today’s event is designed to involve young people at risk of social isolation including young people in out of home care, and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“It is wonderful to be part of an event that brings children, their families and the wider community together to encourage cultural understanding in Tasmania,” Ms Collins said.

“The Gillard Government recognises that a strong supportive relationship between families and young people is one of the most important factors contributing to young Australians having healthy, fulfilling and productive lives.

The Government is increasing support for families, particularly teenagers and children, through this year’s Budget.

Over the next five years, the families of around 650,000 teenagers could be eligible for up to $4,200 extra each year in family assistance if their teenager aged 16 to 19 stays in school or a vocational equivalent.

This significant increase in family assistance costs $771.9 million over the next five years and will help families with the cost of raising older teenagers and encourage teenagers to stay in school.

And for families just starting out in their caring responsibilities, Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme started on 1 January and already around 50,000 parents have applied for support so they can spend more time at home with their new baby.

The Federal Budget also includes:

  • Around $480 million for new mental health services for children and young people, and more than $50 million for new mental health respite services as part of the Government’s $2.2 billion investment in mental health;
  • Almost $150 million for the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative to help families caring for a child with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and sight or hearing impairments access vital early intervention services;
  • An injection of $200 million to provide extra support for students with disability in Australian schools; and
  • More support, and new responsibilities, for teenage parents and jobless families in ten highly disadvantaged communities.

National Families Week is chance for families to share time together, celebrate and have fun, catch up with friends and neighbours, help others or simply take time to talk with and listen to each other.