A. Stronger Families and Communities


A1. National Reciprocal Transport Concessions for State Seniors Card Holders


Implementation


1 July 2002 and ongoing – dependent upon outcomes of negotiations with state and territory Governments
 

What's New


Holders of State Seniors Cards will be eligible to receive concessional public transport fares while travelling interstate. An estimated 700,000 older Australians could benefit from this change.
 

Background


Currently, holders of state or territory issued Seniors Cards are generally only eligible for concessions on public transport services in their home state or territory.

Funds will be provided to states and territories to allow reciprocal concessions for Seniors Card holders when they travel interstate. Negotiations will commence shortly with state and territory Governments to implement the measure. Funding is dependent upon states and territories reaching an agreement with the Commonwealth over the terms of the measure.
 

Total Government Funding: $25.5 million over four years



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A2. Extension of Funding to Support Family Relationships


Implementation


1 July 2002 until 30 June 2003
 

What's New


The measure responds to recommendations in the Family Law Pathways Report by providing funding for men's services and relationship education services for a further 12 months. The measure also delivers on an election commitment by the Government in Our Future Action Plan: Better Law, More Options to support the recommendations of the Family Law Pathways Report to simplify the family law system.
More than five million dollars will be allocated to these services during the 2002–03 financial year.
 

  • $4.1 million through the Men and Family Relationships program to continue the existing 54 men's services in rural, remote and metropolitan Australia; and
  • $1.3 million through the Family Relationship Education Services program to continue the existing services including those in high need areas of rural and remote Australia.

In accordance with the Family Law Pathways Report, the programs provide early intervention and prevention to help families maintain and strengthen their relationships. An independent evaluation of the Men and Family Relationships program is due for completion in September 2002. Further funding for both programs will be considered by the Government as part of its response to the Family Law Pathways Report.
 

Background


In 2000, there were 49,900 divorces granted in Australia at an estimated cost of $3 billion per year. Early intervention to build relationship skills through relationship education can help couples develop stronger relationships with fewer failures.

Separated men have a suicide rate about 12 times that of separated women. Separated men can continue to experience poor health and well being up to ten years after divorce. Shortly after separation there is a greater risk of domestic violence. Apart from the Men and Family Relationships program, specialist men's services are rare.

The Attorney-General's Department is undertaking complementary initiatives.
 

Total Government Funding: $5.3 million over one year



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A3. Extension of the Family and Community Network Initiative


Implementation


1 July 2002 and ongoing
 

What's New


With funding of $8.5 million over four years, the Family and Community Network Initiative has been extended. Continuation of the initiative will allow more disadvantaged communities to benefit from the successful networking approach to building community capacity that was established over the first four years of this program.

The program will provide funding for:

  • long-term community capacity building projects. The projects will strengthen the community by improving access to information about community and family services available within each community; and
  • one-off projects that contribute to information access and community networks.

Background


The Family and Community Network Initiative was originally announced in the
1998–99 Budget. In its first four years the initiative funded 70 grants across Australia using an innovative 'ground-up' networking approach. An independent evaluation of the initiative has shown the approach has been successful in achieving positive results in disadvantaged communities.
 

Total Government Funding: $8.5 million over four years



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A4. Revised Funding for the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy


Implementation


1 July 2002 to 30 June 2004
 

What's New


Funding for the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy (SFCS) has been reduced by $10 million in 2002-03 (leaving $60.7 million) and $6.5 million in 2003–04 (leaving $82.9 million).
 

Background


The SFCS aims to help build stronger families and communities that have capacity to deal with local issues, manage social and economic change, and identify and take advantage of opportunities. Its focus is on early intervention and prevention approaches to help families and communities deal with issues before they become serious problems.

Since funding became available in January 2001, there has been an underspend in the Strategy because of the time involved in working up projects and building capacity in disadvantaged communities.
The Government has revised funding of the SFCS to better reflect this lead time needed for community capacity building projects and working with families.

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A5. Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership


Implementation


1 July 2002 to 30 June 2005
 

What's New


From 2002–03 the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership will be continued for an additional three years. The partnership will contribute to a culture of corporate social responsibility in Australia by providing leadership and support to business. Corporate social responsibility enables business to play a part in the broader community of which they are part and to contribute to the further creation of opportunities for greater economic and social participation for all Australians.

The partnership will do this by:

  • recognising and appreciating excellence in community business partnerships; and
  • providing advice on how to encourage greater partnership activity.

Background


The Government recognises the value of uniting business, Government and the community to ensure that all Australians benefit not just economically, but socially, culturally and environmentally.

Business and the community working together can achieve tangible benefits for many Australians. Evidence can be seen through the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership Awards, which are presented to those businesses and their community partners who have worked together to contribute to the community.
 

Total Government Funding: $5.790 million over three years (Funding for Partnership Secretariat, includes rephasing of $661,000 from 2001-02 to 2002-03.)

 

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