Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

More Help For Disadvantaged Job Seekers

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Kay Patterson, today announced increases in funding to the Australian Government’s highly successful Personal Support Programme (PSP).

“The changes to the program, from 1 July 2004, will continue to provide additional support to people with a wide range of barriers that prevent them from participating fully in their community or workforce,” Senator Patterson said.

“Economic outcome payments for PSP providers will be moved forward to 13-weeks and a new $200 incentive payment will be made at the completion of 26 weeks in work, education or an employment assistance programme.

“The changes include a new remote service payment of $250 per place in recognition of the extra costs for providing services in remote Australia and an increase in the interpreter loading from $200 to $600.

“These improvements will strengthen services in remote Australia, ensure particularly vulnerable participants will benefit from the programme and reinforce the Government’s commitment to achieving positive results for the unemployed.

“The program, which began on 1 July 2002, assisted 26,500 of Australia’s most disadvantaged people in the first 12 months, 1,500 more than expected. In its second year almost 40,000 Australians have benefited from this programme.”

“So far this year, out of the 7,500 people who exited the program, more than 1000 have started working or are studying.

“These results continue to impress, considering most of the people assisted face a multitude of personal issues such as mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse and homelessness.

“This vulnerable group of people have been given a second chance to reach their full potential and play an active and positive role in our society.

“The success of this program clearly demonstrates the Australian Government’s continued support in providing Australia’s most disadvantaged people with a step in the right direction,” Senator Patterson said.