Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Support for volunteers one of 20 projects to strengthen SA communities

$69,412 in funding for volunteers who help South Australians facing financial crisis is just one of the projects funded in South Australia under the Howard Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

Nearly $2.3 million will be invested in 20 projects that will provide lasting benefits to people throughout South Australia.

Other projects funded include over $750,000 for Parenting Centres to be established in Peterborough and Port Pirie, and $150,000 for rural leadership programs in 10 communities.

The Bright Start project will establish Parenting Centres to give local parents support on a range of parenting issues. There will be a special emphasis on supporting male carers and parents, Indigenous families, and families where a child or parent has a disability. Early intervention programs for families in Port Pirie and Peterborough will be run at several local primary schools.

A leadership project run by the South Australian Farmer’s Federation will identify and support potential leaders in rural communities and provide training and mentoring to people who are already involved in their local communities. The funding will see rural communities become stronger and more self-reliant, and give local people the confidence and skills to be involved with local social and economic planning.

This funding is part of a further $15 million made available under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy to support more than 100 community-based projects across Australia.

This latest funding round means that spending on community projects under the Strategy has now topped $55 million, highlighting the significant contribution the Howard Government has made to help build family and community strength.

We are determined to support people at the local level, and invest in their strengths, skills and capacities. Government doesn’t have all the answers, which is why we’re providing unprecedented support for practical partnerships with local communities.

It’s all about people identifying issues of importance to their communities, and with our support, being able to improve their quality of community and family life in very tangible ways.

The Strategy has a focus on parenting and relationship education, community leadership development, assistance for young vulnerable people, support for Indigenous families and communities and the development of volunteering.

Already there has been great success with projects like Kurruru Pingyarendi – the Gilles Plains Community Garden, which has provided a way of helping local Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together. The garden has become a focus for local educational, environmental and recreational activities, while training is provided to community members in garden development and maintenance.

Every project funded under the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy aims to provide assistance where it is most needed, by helping people and communities come up with solutions to the issues they face.

I encourage everyone to think about how their own communities can be strengthened, and how families can be supported in their own local area.

This commitment confirms the Howard Government’s determination to help create strong, active and united Australian families and communities.