Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Extra $20 million for Local Answers

The Howard Government today announced it was releasing a further $20 million to help communities under the Local Answers initiative.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said Local Answers was designed to help strengthen communities by funding local, small-scale, time-limited projects to help communities in identifying opportunities to develop skills, support children and families and to foster proactive communities.

"The Australian Government committed $137 million from 2004 to 2009 for Local Answers as part of the $500 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy," Mr Brough said.

"$10 million has been made available for new projects, with priority given to disadvantaged communities while up to $10 million has been set aside for projects either currently funded or previously funded under Local Answers or the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy that can demonstrate practical and tangible outcomes achieved to date.

"Applications need to demonstrate how the project will encourage a preventative and early intervention approach to strengthen the community and to build the community’s abilities to give children a better start in life. Organisations can apply for up to $300,000 for each project.

"Projects funded under this latest round of Local Answers could include activities which build effective parenting and relationship skills and build skills and opportunities to make families and communities more self-reliant. Applications should also show how projects will assist individuals to get involved in community life through local volunteering, mentoring or training to build leadership skills.

"Previous projects funded through Local Answers include a project that worked with two local youth services to provide early intervention, prevention and community awareness activities for more than 160 younger mothers and fathers; and a mentoring program that provides one-to-one mentoring to students in years 7 to 12.

"Local Answers is one of the most popular initiatives under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, because it provides communities the financial support they need to help make their communities stronger and a better place to live."

The guidelines and application form for Local Answers Round Five are available from the Department of Families, Communities and Indigenous Affairs website. Applications are now open and close at 5 pm on 25 May 2007.