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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

National Pancake Day Launch of UnitingCare SHARE Appeal in Victoria

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today launched the National Pancake Day UnitingCare SHARE Appeal in Victoria.

Senator Patterson said UnitingCare’s SHARE Appeal, held annually to raise funds and to highlight the issue of poverty in the community, aims to raise $350,000 by selling 200,000 pancakes through community groups and workplaces Australia-wide.

“For over 22 years the SHARE Appeal has been assisting Victorians in need and has delivered support services to disadvantaged Australians: children, youth, families, people with disabilities, older people, the homeless and unemployed,” Senator Patterson said.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting families and people experiencing financial hardship through community organisations.

“To this end the Prime Minister announced an additional $800,000 in Government funding for UnitingCare’s Working Together program today.

“The Working Together program is an early intervention service that supports families, teachers and carers of preschool aged children experiencing significant social and emotional difficulties resulting in persistent challenging behaviours.

“The evaluation of the program to date shows that Working Together is an effective program that makes a positive difference in the lives of parents, teachers and carers of young children who exhibit difficult behaviour.

“The additional funding will enable the service not only to continue with its current service provision but also to employ two staff and expand the program.

Senator Patterson said that the Government funds a range of programs to help people who are suffering financial hardship.

“Funding of $833 million has been provided to Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) over five years to 2004-05 to help people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.

“In addition the Government has identified early intervention and prevention as vital approaches to deal with homelessness providing $4.9 million for the Family Homelessness Prevention Pilot in the 2001-02 budget.

“This Pilot has delivered strong results for families at risk of homelessness. A recent evaluation of the pilot showed that 90 per cent of the families assisted by the program stayed in their homes or were re-housed.

“The Australian Government will continue its commitment to assisting families and individuals who are experiencing hard times. The real progress can be made if we all work together – governments, the community and business,” Senator Patterson said.