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Christmas appeals

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NEWS Brian Howe

RELEASEDeputy Prime Minister Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services CHRISTMAS APPEALS

On December 6, the Prime Minister announced that the Federal Government would match, dollar for dollar, cash donations by the public to major voluntary agencies for their Christmas appeals.

On December 12, these agencies were invited to apply for the matching grants. More than 70 organisations applied and some 30 met the selection criteria.

Today I would like to present a cheque for $3.15 million to one of those agencies - the Salvation Army.

The funds will be used to provide tangible assistance such as toys and presents for children, food hampers and Christmas dinners to families and Christmas cheer to aged, homeless and destitute people.

The funds I am handing over today will match the $3.15 million the Salvation Army will spend on Christmas assistance this year. That is a total of $6.3 million to help people in need.

This assistance will be distributed throught 226 Salvation Army outlets across Australia.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the Salvation Army and the other agencies.

The Federal Government is providing a total of $7.5 million to the 30 agencies, based on donations to date. A second payment will be made in January to match donations received after this first payment.

The Government is also providing an additional $2 million through the Emergency Relief Program to more than 700 community welfare agencies to provide additional assistance.

I hope Australians will continue to open their hearts and their pockets, and to give whatever they can to help those in need over this Christmas period.

I would also like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas.

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations

Thank you.