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$220,000 for Gecko Lodge support service.



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MEDIA RELEASE $220,000 for Gecko Lodge support service - 15 December 2005 Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell, today announced Australian Government funding of $220,000 for Gecko Lodge in the Atherton Tablelands under the Sustainable Regions program.

Gecko Lodge, located in Tolga, provides affordable accommodation, life skills training and assistance finding employment to individuals from a range of situations, who may need extra assistance to make the transition back into society. The Lodge receives referrals from a number

of community organisations.

Senator Boswell said the Sustainable Regions program funding would help Gecko Lodge to increase its supported accommodation services and to meet the Residential Services Building Standards and Residential Budget Accommodation Standards required for all residential facilities.

“It is encouraging to see an organisation committed to increasing the quality of service it provides to people in need who often have nowhere else to go,” he said.

“Many people just need some extra help to get back on their feet and the combination of affordable longer-term accommodation, training, and help finding employment makes that possible.

“Today’s announcement is another example of the Australian Government working in partnership with regional communities to build a stronger future,” he said.

The Atherton Tablelands region has been allocated up to $18 million under the Sustainable Regions program which operates in this region until June 2006.

The Sustainable Regions program helps regional communities address priority issues they have identified. The program offers a planned, integrated approach to regions facing economic, social and environmental change. Assistance under the program is being provided to ten designated regions across Australia.

For more information on the Sustainable Regions program, visit www.sustainableregions.gov.au.

Media Contact: Leah Nicoll (Office of Ron Boswell - 3001 8150)

ENDS

15 December 2005