Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

More support for fathers

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today launched the Fatherhood Research in Australia report – the first in Australia to look at the research done on supporting fathers in their parenting role.

The report was jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Family and Community Services and the Child Support Agency and the Bernard van Leer Foundation of the Netherlands and undertaken by the Family Action Centre of The University of Newcastle.

“The Australian Government welcomes the report as an important contribution to building a base of knowledge about Australian fathers and is the first study to identify local research literature on fatherhood.

“The report found that most Australian research focused on fathers in the context of crises, such as when families break up, rather than a father’s role in forming and maintaining family relationships.

“While it remains important to do further research on fathering after separation, the report highlights the need for more focus by researchers and community services on maintaining a positive role for fathers in Australian families.

“The Australian Government has generated a substantial shift over the last few years in this area by providing for the first time substantial support for programs aimed specifically at men to help them in their family relationships.

“For example, the Men and Family Relationships program supports 44 community organisations in more than 80 locations in rural, regional and metropolitan Australia. These services help men to manage a range of relationship issues with partners, ex-partners and children.

“The Early Childhood – Invest to Grow initiative, part of the $365 million refocussed Stronger Families and Communities Strategy will fund a range of early childhood programs, and the development of national tools and resources for parents, and particularly fathers.

“One project under this initiative is the $4 million Parenting Information website. This website will be critical to the provision of resources for fathers. It is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to increasing the knowledge and confidence of parents to support and nurture their child’s development in the crucial early years.

“It used to be that support for parents was in fact support for mothers. There has been a change in our society and fathers are taking a more active role in the parenting of their children. The information and support available to parents has to reflect that change,”  Mr Anthony said.