Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Labor’s mentoring program misses the Mark… and totally misses Mary

After much chest-beating about the need for more mentoring programs, Mark Latham has today promised only a quarter of the funding the Australian Government currently provides in the area and completely ignores girls, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony said.

“Labor has today finally put a dollar figure on his much heralded ‘mentoring strategy’ and it falls well short of what everyone was expecting, particularly given all the huff and puff from Labor Leader, Mark Latham.

“There will be many disappointed community organisations when they find out that Labor will only commit $5.7 million over 4 years.

“This commitment pales in comparison to the Coalition Government’s $4.4 million Mentor Marketplace program and current funding of $23 million through the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy for mentoring programs.

“This funding is very effectively engaging young people with people in business, schools and communities and fostering community leaders. We are supporting many groups including Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Smith Family and Youth Off the Streets.

“Organisations and communities will also have access to funding for the next four years through the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy $60 million Local Answers initiative to support local community projects.

“Labor have also today failed to recognise the need for mentoring programs for girls. Instead they have again gone for the gimmicky news grab rather than delivering real policy solutions for all those in need of help and support.

“Government policies and programs on mentoring should not be about choosing between boys and girls. It should also be community driven and not delivered from a ‘Canberra knows best’ approach.

“The Coalition Government recognises this and provides funding for a diverse range of projects right across Australia for both boys and girls.”

Mr Anthony also asked where was the Minister for Community Relationships, Lindsay Tanner, in today’s announcement?

“It was not so long ago at his Press Club address that Mr Latham placed Mr Tanner front and centre of policy development in this area. However, he does not rate a mention in this announcement which does not bode well for the new shadow ministry ,” Mr Anthony said.