Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$1.7 million for Gippsland family relationship services

Services to help Gippsland families build strong and positive relationships will receive more than $1.7 million in Australian Government funding to July 2009.

Early intervention services including counselling, skills training, family dispute resolution and mediation will be delivered along with post-separation services with the focus on the safety and wellbeing of children.

Family breakdown can have terrible consequences for children.

These programs can give parents the ongoing support and assistance to prevent family breakdown. In the unfortunate case that separation does occur, family relationship services can help minimise the negative social and psychological impact on children.

The funding package, which is split between the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Attorney General’s Department, includes $922,000 for the Traralgon Family Relationship Centre (FRC).

In partnership with Gippsland Lakes Community Health, the Traralgon FRC delivers family counselling, skills training and mediation in South, East and West Gippsland, the La Trobe Valley as well as Bairnsdale, Orbost, Moe, Maffra and Sale.

When families separate, the Centre provides information, advice and help to resolve family disputes and reach agreement on parenting arrangements without going to court. They also refer families to a range of other services that can help.

There is a high demand for these services. Since it began operating in July 2007, the Traralgon FRC has helped 420 people.

Relationships Australia Victoria will also receive more than $350,000 to provide a range of early intervention services including, family dispute resolution, counselling, family relationship education, and specialised family violence services.

We all know that many families in regional and rural Australia are still suffering the effects of the long-running drought, which has placed a great deal of strain on family relationships.

To support families in Gippsland the Australian Government has provided $500,000 to set up two Family Support Drought Response Teams in East Gippsland and the Wellington Shire.

These teams will start operating next month and will provide family relationship counselling, and mediation services to assist families experiencing relationship strain because of the extended drought in Gippsland.