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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1736

Senator ZAKHAROV —Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware of concern in the community about the future of the family conciliation centres which have been very successful pilot projects in Melbourne's eastern suburbs and in Wollongong? Has the Government made any decisions about the future of these centres and possible extension to other areas and other States?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The pilot project for conciliation centres has been operating at Noble Park in Victoria since February 1985 and at Wollongong since September 1985. An evaluation report by external evaluators was given to the Government in November last year and is currently under consideration. The centres are currently fully funded until 30 June this year. Some public concern has been expressed about the continuing operations of the centres, particularly that at Noble Park. There has been some correspondence in the newspapers about this, expressing the view that these centres have worked very well, that they can ease the burdens of the courts and that they ought to be maintained. Certainly the Government will take very seriously those sorts of representations. The decision that we make-and we have not yet made it-will be based on a full and careful analysis of that evaluation study that has been made, and of course it will also have to be made in the context of the budgetary processes for 1987-88.