Media Release by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Extra $17 million for frontline social services as Stronger Relationships trial ends

Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison today announced the Stronger Relationships trial will cease from Monday 9 February with funding to be reinvested into frontline social services.

“The Stronger Relationships 12-month trial scheme offered subsidies for relationship education and counseling, however the programme was undersubscribed and will now end on Monday 9 February. This will allow $17 million in savings to be reinvested into essential frontline services under the Department of Social Services (DSS) grants scheme,” Minister Morrison said.

“During the first seven months of the trial, which began on 1 July last year, only around 10,000 couples had registered for the scheme and only one third of these had gone on to attend a relationship education or counselling service. This uptake is well below the 100,000 subsidies available under the trial.

“The Australian Government will honour the $200 subsidy until 30 June 2015 for couples who registered prior to 9 February 2015.

“The Department of Social Services will continue to work closely with Stronger Relationships service providers and affected couples to manage the transition.

“The Government understands the importance of stable relationships. Relationship education and counselling services will continue to be provided by organisations who recently received funding for five years under the Australian Government’s Families and Communities Programme.

“The $17 million reinvested into the social services grants scheme will go towards funding extensions for eligible providers to ensure continuity of front line community services following the completion of the tender process under the New Way of Working for Grants,” Mr Morrison said.