House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2010

Second Reading

12:31 pm

Photo of Kevin AndrewsKevin Andrews (Menzies, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

and were very important centres. I think there were about 65 of them throughout Australia, set up with the intent of providing a place where families having disputes and problems or issues with their relationship could go to a one-stop shop for assistance. They could obtain advice, information and assistance in relation to those disputes with a hope that reconciliation of the difficulties might be achieved and, where reconciliation could not be achieved, to at least conciliate rather than litigate the outcome of those difficulties.

The problem with this sneaky decision—sneaky because it was not announced on the budget night and was not in the budget papers but we found out afterwards—to slash $43 million from family relationships centres is that the very centres, the very organisations, the likes of Relationships Australia in the various states, and Centacare and Anglicare and other similar agencies around Australia, charitable and voluntary agencies that are providing excellent services to Australian families, will have less funding to provide those valuable and important services to Australian families right throughout Australia. As I said, it is something to be deplored and condemned and it is hard to understand why a government that routinely has used the phrase ‘working families’ in its rhetoric would actually pull funding out from the very services that provide support for families right around this nation. There has been no explanation as to why that has been done. As I said, it is regrettable in the circumstances.

The coalition support legislation that makes the interface of citizens and government departments and agencies simpler. We support aligning legislation in the areas of child support and family assistance to make life easier for parents and carers. Because of that, we will be supporting this bill.


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