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Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Overcoming Obstacles to Employment – Personal Support Programme

Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today announced funding of $62 million over four years for a new programme to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Senator Vanstone said the funding for the new Personal Support Programme would help people who have severe or multiple barriers to employment. The new programme will replace the Community Support Programme from July 2002.

“The current system is failing these people. It does not help enough people and there is not enough funding for service providers to do their job,” Senator Vanstone said.

“This new programme will be a major boost to people with severe obstacles to employment. Employment service providers will be provided with substantially more funds to help their clients and the number of people helped will grow from 15,000 to 45,000 by 2004-2005.

“Through this programme, service providers will work with participants to identify ways of overcoming or better managing their personal obstacles to employment which include homelessness, drug and alcohol dependency and mental illness.

“These are people, who because of their personal circumstances and special needs, are generally unable to benefit from the employment assistance currently available.

“People with complex and significant obstacles to employment such as drug dependency and alcoholism will benefit from this programme. However, the answer might be something as simple as finding stable accommodation for someone who is homeless. This new initiative will be much more flexible and relevant to people’s individual needs than the assistance currently available.”

“This programme is an excellent example of this Government’s commitment to ensuring that the most vulnerable people in our community are not left behind,” Senator Vanstone said.