Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

A ‘Community Shed’ initiative one of six projects to strengthen Victorian communities

$42,000 for a project to encourage Victorian men to interact and share their skills in a ‘Community Shed’ is just one of the projects funded in Victoria under the Howard Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

Over $485,000 will be invested in six projects that will provide lasting benefits to people throughout Victoria.

Other projects funded include over $30,000 to support Indigenous women in Echuca, and more than $320,000 to prevent mental health problems for families in Spanish-speaking communities of Victoria.

Stronger Women Stronger Communities is a project run by the Njernda Aboriginal Corporation, which will bring together grandmothers, great aunts and aunties to discuss issues they are facing in their lives, including coping with family responsibilities and their role in community life. A support worker will help the Indigenous women in the community to develop their own responses to these issues.

CELAS, the Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre, will deliver a state-wide project to help teenagers, parents and grandparents in Spanish-speaking communities. The project will help families with parenting and family relationships, promote local leadership, and share the outcomes of the project with other ethnic communities in Victoria.

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 Lead On in Mildura, Swan Hill and Echuca – a project developed as a response to young people leaving regional areas. The project is helping young people to develop skills and take active leadership roles in their communities.

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.