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Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Page: 229


Ms Grierson asked the Attorney-General, in writing, on 6 September 2005:

(1)   Does the department or any agency in the Minister’s portfolio administer any Commonwealth funded programs for which community organisations, businesses or individuals in the electoral division of Newcastle can apply for funding; if so, what are the details.

(2)   Are the programs identified in part (1) advertised; if so, in respect of each program (a) what print and other media outlets have been used to advertise it and (b) were these paid advertisements.

(3)   In respect of each of the Commonwealth funded programs referred to in part (1), (a) what is its purpose and (b) who is responsible for allocating funds.

(4)   With respect to each of the Commonwealth funded programs referred to in part (1), how many (a) community organisations, (b) businesses and (c) individuals in the electoral division of Newcastle received funding in (i) 2003-2004 and (ii) 2004-2005.

(5)   What sum of Commonwealth funding did each recipient receive in (a) 2003-2004 and (b) 2004-2005 and what are their names and addresses.


Mr Ruddock (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Grants to Australian Organisations Program

(1)   My Department administers grant funding under the Grants to Australian Organisations Program (GAOP).

(2)   The GAOP is not advertised.

(3)  

(a)   The GAOP is a discretionary grants program. The purpose of the GAOP is to assist Australian organisations with projects or activities focussed on the pursuit of an equitable and accessible system of federal civil justice.

(b)   As Attorney-General, I approve grants under the GAOP.

(4)   and (5) No funding was received by any community organisation, business or individual within the electoral division of Newcastle under the GAOP in either 2003-04 or 2004-05.

The Family Relationship Services Program

(1)   My Department funds services under the Family Relationship Services Program (FRSP). The names of the sub-programs funded by my Department under the FRSP are Family Relationship Counselling (funded jointly with the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Family Relationship Mediation, Children’s Contact Services, conciliation services, Contact Orders Program and Regional Primary Dispute Resolution.

(2)  

(a)   Requests for applications for FRSP funding are advertised in national, State-wide and regional newspapers and on Commonwealth websites.

(b)   FRSP newspaper advertisements are paid advertisements.

(3)  

(a)   The purpose of the FRSP programs is to contribute to the development of an Australia in which:

  • children, young people and adults in all their diversity are enabled to develop and sustain safe, supportive and nurturing family relationships; and
  • the emotional, social and economic costs associated with disruption to family relationships are minimised.

  

(b)   The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and myself as Attorney-General are jointly responsible for allocating funds for family relationship counselling under the FRSP. I am responsible for the remainder of FRSP programs referred to in part (1).

   (4)   There were four community organisations within the electoral division of Newcastle that received funding under the FRSP in both 2003-04 and 2004-05. No businesses or individuals in the electoral division of Newcastle received funding under the FRSP in either 2003-04 or 2004-05.

   (5)   The amount of Commonwealth funding provided to the four community organisations mentioned in answer to part (4) is as follows:

(i)   Centracare - Newcastle of 198 Lawson Street Hamilton NSW 2303 received $56,673 in 2003-04 and $336,832 in 2004-05.

(ii)   Interrelate (Family Life Movement of Australia) - NSW of 5 Lambton Road Broadmeadows NSW 2292 received $577,895 in 2003-04 and $763,385 in 2004-05

(iii)   Lifecare: Counselling and Family Services (NSW) of Cowper Street Wallsend NSW 2287 received $91,906 in 2003-04 and $121,403 in 2004-05.

(iv)   Relationships Australia, NSW of 4-6 Heddon Road Broadmeadows NSW 2303 received $1,695,042 in 2003-04 and $2,239,999 in 2004-05.

Legal Aid Program

(1)   My Department administers the Commonwealth Legal Aid Program through which the Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales is funded to provide legal assistance for matters arising under Commonwealth laws. The Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales has regional offices located at 51-55 Bolton Street, Newcastle NSW 2300.

(2)   My Department does not advertise the Commonwealth Legal Aid Program. The Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales may advertise its services from time to time.

(3)  

(a)   The purpose of the Commonwealth Legal Aid Program is to ensure disadvantaged persons are able to access legal services for matters arising under Commonwealth laws.

(b)   The Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales is responsible for providing legal assistance services for matters arising under Commonwealth laws under an agreement with the Commonwealth. The agreement provides for the provision of a range of services including grants of aid for legal representation.

(4)   and (5) Some individuals or organisations located in the electorate of Newcastle may have received grants of legal assistance for matters arising under Commonwealth laws. However privacy guidelines prevent the disclosure of information in relation to the recipients of legal aid grants and statistical information on the provision of grants of legal assistance is not collected on the basis of electoral divisions.

Financial Assistance Program

My Department administers schemes for the provision of financial assistance for legal and associated costs. These schemes exist to provide legal or financial assistance in cases where legal aid is not generally available from legal aid commissions and where the circumstances give rise to a special Commonwealth interest. People and organisations in the electoral division of Newcastle can apply for assistance directly from the Australian Government under these schemes. It has been a long-standing practice, endorsed by successive Attorneys-General, to treat applications for financial assistance in confidence and not to provide information in relation to individual applications.

Community Legal Services Program

(1)   The Hunter District Community Legal Centre receives funding under the Commonwealth Community Legal Services Program, a national program which provides funding to community organisations for the provision of legal and related services to those in need. However, funding under the program is currently fully committed on a recurrent basis.

(2)   When new funding becomes available, the allocation of funds to any new community legal services is undertaken through a competitive tendering process following a needs-based assessment of possible locations. When such funding opportunities arise, paid advertisements are placed in the primary State newspapers and relevant local newspapers.

(3)  

(a)   The purpose of the Commonwealth Community Legal Services Program is to provide free and accessible legal information and/or advice to disadvantaged members of the community who are not eligible for legal aid and who cannot afford a private solicitor.

(b)   My Department administers funding to community legal centres under the Commonwealth Community Legal Services Program. The Department provides recommendations to me on the allocation of any new funding under the program.

(4)   and (5) Under the Commonwealth Community Legal Services Program, the Hunter District Community Legal Centre received $182,375 in 2003-04 and $186,022 in 2004-05. The Hunter District Community Legal Centre is located at Suite 76, Market Square, Hunter Street Mall, Newcastle NSW 2300.

Indigenous Law and Justice Advocacy Program

(1)   My Department administers grant funding under the Indigenous Law and Justice Advocacy Program. These funds are available for advocacy projects and legal test cases that would have a significant impact on the rights of Indigenous Australians.

(2)  

(a)   Public advertisements are placed by the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination towards the end of each calendar year for all Commonwealth grant-funded programs for Indigenous Australians. Such advertisements appear in national, State-wide, and Indigenous-specific newspapers.

(b)   Yes these were paid advertisements.

(b)   My delegate is responsible for allocating funds in accordance with program guidelines, which are available on the Department’s website.

(3)  

(a)   The purpose of the Indigenous Law and Justice Advocacy Program is to support Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees, Deaths in Custody Watch Committees and relevant research and education projects.

(b)   My delegate is responsible for allocating funds in accordance with program guidelines, which are available on the Department’s website.

(4)   and (5) No community organisation, business or individual in the electoral division of Newcastle received funding under the Indigenous Law and Justice Advocacy Program in 2003-04 or 2004-05.

Indigenous Prevention, Diversion, Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice Program

(1)   My Department administers grant funding under the Indigenous Prevention, Diversion, Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice Program. Funding supports diversion, prevention, education and rehabilitation projects to help reduce Indigenous people’s adverse contact with the justice system.

(2)  

(a)   Public advertisements are placed by the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination towards the end of each calendar year for all Commonwealth grant-funded programs for Indigenous Australians. Such advertisements appear in national, State-wide and Indigenous-specific newspapers.

(b)   Yes these were paid advertisements.

(b)   My delegate is responsible for allocating funds in accordance with program guidelines, which are available on the Department’s website.

(3)  

(a)   The Indigenous Prevention, Diversion, Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice Program supports prevention, diversion, rehabilitation and restorative justice related projects designed to help reduce Indigenous people’s adverse contact with the justice system with emphasis placed upon needs of children and young people, so that any cycles of offending can be disrupted as early as possible given the rapid growth of the young Indigenous population.

(b)   My delegate is responsible for allocating funds in accordance with program guidelines, which are available on the Department’s website.

(4)   and (5) The Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services Incorporated received funding under the Indigenous Prevention, Diversion, Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice program of $50,000 in 2003-04 and $40,000 in 2004-05. The Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services Incorporated is located at Suite 3, 292 Maitland Road, Mayfield NSW 2304.

Legal Aid for Indigenous Australians

(1)   My Department administers the Indigenous Legal Aid Program. Services in the electoral division of Newcastle are currently provided under a grant arrangement with Many Rivers Administrative and Legal Services Limited, based in Grafton and operating out of its Newcastle office. From 1 July 2006, a provider selected through an open tender process will provide legal aid services to Indigenous people in the electoral division of Newcastle.

(2)   The request for tender to provide Indigenous legal aid services for New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Jervis Bay Territory was advertised in late January 2006 in the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the National Indigenous Times and the Canberra Times newspapers through paid advertisements.

(3)  

(a)   The Indigenous Legal Aid Program funds the provision of culturally appropriate legal aid services for Indigenous Australians in accordance with the priorities and requirements contained in the policy directions.

(b)   Tenders are assessed in accordance with the tender assessment criteria contained in the request for tender. The decision on the successful tenderer is made by the Secretary of my Department.

(4)   and (5) Individuals or organisations in the electoral division of Newcastle may receive legal assistance from an Indigenous legal aid service provider if they meet the eligibility requirements for that assistance. Privacy guidelines prevent the disclosure of information in relation to the recipients of legal aid grants and statistical information on the provision of grants of legal assistance is not collected on the basis of electoral divisions.

National Community Crime Prevention Programme

(1)   My Department administers funding for grants under the National Community Crime Prevention Programme for which eligible community organisations can apply for funding in the electoral division of Newcastle.

(2)   The National Community Crime Prevention Programme is advertised in national, metropolitan regional and Indigenous-specific newspapers and a variety of electronic government publications through paid advertisements.

(3)  

(a)   The purpose of the National Community Crime Prevention Programme is to identify and promote innovative ways of reducing and preventing crime and the fear of crime.

(b)   The Minister for Justice and Customs is responsible for allocating funds.

(ii)   There were two community organisations that received funding in 2004-05.

(4)  

(i)   No funding was received by any community organisation, business or individual within the electoral division of Newcastle in 2003-04.

(ii)   There were two community organisations that received funding in 2004-05.

(5)   The Migrant Resource Centre of Newcastle and Hunter Region of 8 Chaucer Street, Hamilton NSW 2303, was awarded a total of $92,992 in 2005, to be paid over 2 years. Of this total, $30,000 was paid in November 2005. St John of God Family Services of 58 Gipps Street, Carrington NSW 2292, was awarded a total of $130,935 in 2004 to be paid over 3 years. Of this total, $39,300 was paid in December 2005 and $27,925 was paid in June 2005 (Note: the funding agreement for this project has been novated to Mercy Community Services of 32 Union Street, Tighes Hill NSW 2297).

Emergency Management Australia

(1)   Through Emergency Management Australia (EMA), my Department administers three funded programs for which community organisations, businesses or individuals in the electoral division of Newcastle can apply for funding. The programs are:

  • the Local Grants Scheme (LGS) (eligibility: local government areas)
  • the National Emergency Volunteer Support Fund (NEVSF) (eligibility: emergency
  • service organisations with a high volunteer component - for example, the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, and recovery agencies including the Salvation Army and Anglicare)
  • the Research and Innovation Program (R&I Program) (eligibility: community organisations, individuals and businesses with an interest in emergency management matters).

(2)   The LGS and NEVSF are advertised extensively across Australia in national, metropolitan, regional and local newspapers through paid advertisements. The R&I Program is advertised:

  • in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management in the November issue
  • on the EMA website at www.ema.gov.au
  • on the Grantslink website maintained by the Department of Transport and Regional Services
  • in all training materials used at the EMA Institute at Mount Macedon.

   In addition, email advice of the R&I Program is provided to State and Territory Emergency Management Executive Officers for dissemination within their jurisdictions, to peak emergency management agencies, universities and to previous applicants. A list of interested people and agencies is also maintained following direct inquiries and they are also advised by email when applications open. These sources do not require payment for advertising and no advertising budget is included in the program.

  

   (3)   (a)   The LGS provides funding to local councils, non-incorporated local government areas and remote and Indigenous communities to assist communities to develop and implement emergency risk management initiatives, enhance protective measures for critical infrastructure and provide emergency management and security awareness training for local government staff.

   The NEVSF provides funding to member agencies of the Australian Emergency Management Volunteer Forum and any agency that has a defined role in State or Territory Response or Recovery Plans. The NEVSF provides grants for projects that boost the recruitment, retention and training of volunteer organisations at the frontline of emergency management.

   The R&I Program is intended to fund projects that enhance community safety. The four priority areas for research are currently:

   1. Building individual and community resilience

   2. Risk perception, including warnings and community action

   3. Innovations in disaster mitigation

   4. Methods for assessing disaster impacts, including long term, social and economic           effects.

   (b)   Responsibility for deciding the priority of applications made under the LGS and NEVSF is taken by a State/Territory Selection Committee formed within each jurisdiction and comprising a representative of the State/Territory’s emergency management organisation, local government (for LGS), emergency volunteer organisations (NEVSF), and EMA. The Committees assess and rank applications based on that State or Territory’s priorities. A composite priority list, comprising the individual State and Territory priority lists are submitted to me for approval. The Community Development Branch within EMA is responsible for the preparation and management of funding agreements between the Commonwealth and grant recipients.

   Applications for the R&I Program are assessed by a panel of independent experts with expertise in both emergency management and the priority areas identified. The final decision on which projects are to be funded is taken by the Director General EMA, based on the recommendations made by the assessment panel.

   (4)   and (5) The first full year of operation of both the LGS and NEVSF was 2005-06 and accordingly, no community organisations, businesses or individuals in the Newcastle electoral division received funding for projects through either program in the 2003-04 or 2004-05 financial years.

   No community organisations, businesses or individuals in the Newcastle electoral division received funding for projects through the R&I program in either the 2003-04 or 2004-05 financial years.