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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government strengthens successful Personal Support Programme

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced $7 million additional funding to create 4,000 new places and a $300 increase for commencement funding to the Howard Government’s highly successful Personal Support Programme (PSP).

Senator Patterson said the funds would go to the 148 organisations delivering the programme and the extra places brought the total number now available to 33,000 since the PSP started in July 2002.

‘The extra funding for the organisations is a result of a 100 per cent increase in the start up payment, from $300 to $600 per participant which will be backdated to 1 July 2004. This means additional payments worth nearly $7 million per year going to organisations delivering the Personal Support Programme.

‘This programme has been a great success. It is achieving positive results, which are well above our expectations for some of our most disadvantaged jobseekers. Most importantly it is achieving job outcomes for the very long term unemployed.

‘By the end of its second year, the number of people transferring into employment, education or employment assistance programs for at least six months had risen to over 16 per cent of people completing the programme. Importantly, most of these had achieved ongoing employment.

‘One of the most pleasing aspects is that during the two years of the PSP over 60 percent of people moving to ongoing employment were unemployed for three years or more before starting with the programme.

‘These are great outcomes, however I believe we can do even better. The increased funding will strengthen incentives available to providers to continue to build on these excellent results.

‘The programme’s success and the funding increase clearly demonstrate the Howard Government’s continued commitment to Australia’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged jobseekers.

‘It is also shows the success of the strong partnerships the Howard Government has developed with the organisations delivering these important programmes across Australia,’ Senator Patterson said.