Speech by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

National Men and Fathers’ Practitioner Network Forum

Location: Parliament House, Canberra


I would like to begin by acknowledging the elders and traditional owners of the Ngunnawal people on whose land we are meeting today

It is a great pleasure to be here today and I extend a warm welcome to you all to the 2005 National Men and Fathers’ Practitioners Network Forum

Congratulations to the National Men and Fathers’ Practitioners Network and Mensline Australia for organising this Forum

Acknowledgment of important guests

I would like to acknowledge some important guests here today, who have helped make this forum a success

Wendy Sturgess, Chief Executive Officer, Crisis Support Services

Terry Melvin, Manager, Mensline Australia

Caroline Aebersold, Training and Education Manager, Crisis Support Services

Andrew Chudleigh, Director, Fatherwork

Addressing the conference

Today’s Forum is an opportunity for leading practitioners, working with men and fathers, to discuss issues surrounding relationship breakdown and the work the men’s sector has undertaken in collaboration with the Child Support Agency and the Family Court of Australia

It is pleasing to see the steady development of expertise in engaging and working with men and their families

The Australian Government is proud to have played a part in the development of this sector, with the first men and family relationships program, funded by the Australian Government, starting as a pilot program in 1999

Today there are 45 organisations funded to provide men and family relationship services across Australia

And, the sector is about to expand further, with the Government providing funding for up to an additional 45 men and family relationships services, as part of the 2005-06 Budget

The funding for these services will be rolled out over the next four years with up to 15 new services to be funded in the 2006?07 financial year

Funding to Mensline Australia has also increased under the 2005-06 Budget, ensuring more people are able to access this valuable service

Australian men are now attending programs which did not exist six years ago, allowing them fulfill their aspirations as fathers, husbands or partners

The men and family relationships sector has played a key role in the development of services for Australian men and fathers

Practitioners delivering men and family relationships services have formed state based networks to provide support for each other and share information on working with men

Last year the state practitioner networks organised the National Men and Family Relationships Forum to showcase the range of mens services that have developed across Australia

Today’s forum and the establishment of the National Men and Fathers Practitioner Network is a further example of the innovation and enthusiasm of those involved in the men’s sector and the important work they do in helping to build and sustain positive family relationships


Strong, vibrant families and communities are fundamental to our culture and our way of life and the Australian Government is committed to strengthening and supporting children, youth and families

Once again, I acknowledge and thank the organisers of today’s Forum and the guest speakers

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been with you all here today and I hope you will all leave here with new ideas to improve the lives of all Australian families

I declare the first National Men and Fathers’ Practitioner Network forum officially open

Thank you