The Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs To Have and to Hold - Strategies to Strengthen Marriage and Relationships was tabled on 22 June 1998.
The report clearly shows the high price of marriage and relationship breakdown in Australia on many levels, but particularly the emotional and financial. Recognising the increasing stresses on families and the changing social trends in relation to marriage, separation and divorce, the report suggests it is timely to renew the focus on preventive action to promote strong and healthy marital relationships.
In responding to the report, the Government wholeheartedly supports the Committee's view of the importance of preventive strategies to assist Australian families to develop and sustain valued relationships. Its key response to the Committee's report is the recognition of the need for a clear policy statement that reflects the Government's vision for Australia's families.
A national family strategy will be developed in partnership with the community and other levels of government. Prevention and early intervention will be key themes, and a vital part of this new framework will be a comprehensive strategy to strengthen and support marriage and relationships in the community as recommended by the Committee. It is important that information and help is available for families when needed - preferably early enough to prevent problems arising. The Government's long-term policy framework will focus on ways to ensure that families and individuals have access to assistance and advice at critical points in their lives, where there can be a positive impact on continuing family security.