Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Launch of the Personal Support Programme

Today’s launch of the Howard Government’s new Personal Support Programme is the biggest ever increase in services to help people who have serious personal issues that stop them from getting work.

Starting on 1 July, the Personal Support Programme will provide a comprehensive range of specialist support services. Delivered by a network of 144 community and private organisations from nearly 600 sites nationwide, tens of thousands of people will be helped each year. Around 45 per cent of the services will be in rural and remote areas.

The Personal Support Programme is a key plank of the Australians Working Together package. We have committed $154 million over four years to help around 25,000 people in the first year, with this number growing to 45,000 a year by 2004/5.

The programme is designed to specifically help some of our most disadvantaged tackle complex and difficult personal circumstances like homelessness, mental illness, alcohol or drug problems, and domestic violence.

All too frequently, these disadvantaged Australians have been put in the too hard basket.

The Personal Support Programme will be a big boost in helping the most vulnerable people in our community.

The services have been carefully selected for their ability and expertise to make a difference to these people and I believe their efforts will help set national standards for government sponsored welfare services.

The new programme will offer more places, increased coverage, more specialists and a greater diversity of assistance than ever before.

The Personal Support Programme is a fantastic initiative that will provide support and real opportunities for thousands of the most disadvantaged people in Australia. I look forward to seeing the positive and life changing results that will flow from this programme in the future.