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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22710

Strengthening Australian Families and Communities

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/04/2000

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22710

I am pleased to announce that the government will commit more than $240 million to a range of practical programmes that will strengthen Australian families and communities.

The Stronger Families and Communities Strategy represents a major investment in the basic skills and services that underpin family and community life in this country, with particular benefits for families at risk.

It is built upon the traditional Australian values of mutual support and obligation and represents another practical example of the social coalition at work by involving families, government, business and the community working in partnership to ensure the whole community benefits.

Key features of the strategy are:
•Supporting families with young children and giving greater flexibility and choice in childcare;
•Helping couples establish strong and long-lasting relationships;
•Building communities by promoting leadership and supporting volunteers; and
•Helping communities to find solutions to their challenges at a local level.

Never before has an Australian government made an investment of this scale in the bonds that underpin family and community life. Never before has an Australian government recognised so clearly the importance of the early childhood years in shaping adult capacities and experiences.

Examples of how this strategy will work include:
•A new $40 million Stronger Families Fund to help parents nurture and develop learning skills in their young children through locally developed projects. These could include mothers’ groups, playgroups and community services.
•The provision of $65 million to provide greater flexibility and choice in the provision of childcare will help families balance work and family responsibilities when they live too far away from childcare centres. Where both parents are running a farm, this measure will make it possible to have a childcare worker come to their home. Families will also be able to have sick children cared for at home by a trained childcare worker.
•A new $37 million community leaders programme will help up to 400 communities, including many in rural and regional areas, develop around 2,000 leaders who will work on projects to benefit their local community. In addition we will fund a youth cadetship programme where around 10,000 young people in over 200 communities participate in a wide range of community activities.

Around $115 million from this strategy will go to communities in rural and regional Australia and respond directly to recommendations made by the Regional Australia Summit Steering Committee that the best solutions are those tailored to local community circumstances and led by communities themselves.

16 April 2000

Transcript 22710