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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

$20 million for local answers to local problems

 Up to $20 million in funding is now available from the Howard Government for communities across Australia as part of round three of the highly successful Local Answersinitiative.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today encouraged communities across the country to apply for a share in the funding as part of the government’s commitment to supporting local communities.

“This is an opportunity for communities in urban, regional, rural and remote areas of Australia to apply for funding to help build their skills and capacity to identify opportunities and take action for the benefit of members of their community,” Senator Patterson.

Local Answers, part of the Howard Government’s $490 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, helps strengthen disadvantaged communities by funding local, small-scale, time limited projects.

“In funding Local Answers, the Howard Government is continuing to listen to communities as they know what their needs are and how they can be best addressed.

“For example, the Pandanus project, run by Anglicare NT, is delivering ante and post natal education and support for young parents in the Darwin and East Arnhem areas of the Northern Territory.

“This community based and community run project offers culturally appropriate education, information and skills development support for high-risk young parents.

“In the Hawkesbury area in NSW young vulnerable families and carers of children are receiving regular home visits from trained and supervised volunteers.

“The early intervention program aims to reduce instability and increase confidence in parenting, as well as meet the needs of families by alleviating stress and isolation and increasing equity and accessibility to services.

“In West Melbourne, Care and Communication Concern Welfare Services Inc is working with 540 disadvantaged youth in the West Melbourne and Dandenong areas, enabling them to graduate from the Hand Brake Turn project.

“The Hand Brake Turn project assists and supports young people who are long term unemployed, young parents, homeless, Indigenous or from culturally diverse backgrounds, to gain employment, an apprenticeship or undertake further training or education.

“The Howard Government has already committed $40 million in funding for more than 260 projects under the initiative. The total funding for Local Answers is $137 million over five years.

“This is a significant amount of funding, providing the support and resources for communities to identify areas where funding is crucial to meeting the needs of families and communities throughout Australia.

Local Answers is another example of the Howard Government’s continued efforts to invest in the wellbeing of children, their families and their communities for a better life for all Australians,” Senator Patterson said.

Applications for Local Answers Round Three close 5pm, Friday 23 September 2005.

Application forms and guidelines are available from the Department of Family and Community Services’ website (www.facs.gov.au) or by calling the toll free hotline 1800 050 044.

Indigenous applicants may also contact the Local Answers Indigenous toll free number 1800 625 136.