Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Emergency Relief Funding to Assist Those in Need

:Over $30 million for the Emergency Relief (ER) Programme, announced in the 2005-06 Budget, is to be distributed to the existing network of 900 agencies delivering services through around 1400 outlets nationwide.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said the funding would enable these community and charitable organisations to continue providing their valuable service to those in need.

“The ER Programme was introduced to provide financial assistance and support to community and charitable organisations which provide help to people in need of emergency assistance,” Senator Patterson said.

“Generally provided in the form of cash, a purchase voucher for a fixed value or the part-payment of an outstanding account, ER assists people in financial crisis to deal with their immediate crisis situation in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and encourages self-reliance.

“This latest allocation of funding will be distributed to the existing network of agencies to assist them in continuing to help people in need, as well as provide training and support for ER providers and their staff.

“The Howard Government is committed to providing ongoing funding and support to these essential services, which are crucial to help those members of the Australian community who find themselves in crisis situations,” Senator Patterson said.

In determining the allocation of the funds to the States and Territories, the number and location of recipients of a number of Government payments, such as Youth and Newstart Allowance and the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit A, was considered.

Attached is a table outlining the distribution of the funds across the States and Territories.