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Wednesday, 14 May 2003
Page: 14581


Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 3 March 2003:

(1) What household items are provided to eligible humanitarian entrants under the Household Formation Support (HFS) element of the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS).

(2) Are items such as lounge furniture, wardrobes and chests of drawers excluded from the list of approved items; if so, is it assumed that charities will provide humanitarian entrants with such items out of their own resources.

(3) Are contracted service providers funded a set sum per household to provide approved household items; if so, what is this sum and on what basis was it determined.

(4) Have HFS service providers expressed concern about their capacity to provide adequate HFS assistance to clients within the current financial constraints of the scheme; if so, what has been the response of his Department.


Mr Hardgrave (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Eligible humanitarian entrant families under the HFS element of IHSS receive a basic set of household goods depending on family needs. The following items are included:

Mattresses

Table

Chairs

Refrigerator

Pillows

Bedding (sheets and blankets)

A quantity of crockery and cutlery appropriate to the household size including cooking utensils and saucepans.

(2) There is no restriction on supplementing the basic package of goods with other items, such as lounge furniture, wardrobes and chests of drawers but this is largely dependent on the availability of donated goods.

(3) Yes, HFS service providers are funded a set sum per family to provide household items, which is indexed annually for CPI increases. In 2002-03 this amount is $1200 per family. It was based on providing a basic set of goods for an average family size of 3.5 persons. The intent of HFS is that service providers have flexibility within the available funds to tailor a package for a family, and it is open to service providers to adjust the amounts provided to individual families although in practice needs are such that most receive the standard package.

(4) Yes, HFS service providers have expressed concerns regarding the limited amount of funding in the context of the IHSS Evaluation and in comments to the Review of Settlement Services. A response will be considered in the light of the Report on the Settlement Services Review.