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Relationship assistance expanded

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The H o n . D aryl W illiams a m qc m p

14 A pril 1997 248


The G overnm ent’s com m itm ent to increased and enhanced m arriage and relationship education is dem onstrated today w ith the launch o f 34 new and extended m arriage and relationship education program s throughout A ustralia.

In January the G overnm ent announced funding for the new and extended services as part o f our $6 m illion B udget com m itm ent. Those services are now being established in various areas throughout A ustralia.

T hese services reinforce the G overnm ent’s support for the fam ily and follow initiatives in taxation, healthcare and industrial relations w hich are aim ed at strengthening and m aintaining fam ily relationships in Australia.

Preventative services such as these w ill help fam ilies m aintain strong, positive relationships by developing m ore realistic attitudes and expectations, and im proving skills in com m unication and conflict resolution.

M arriage and relationship education also alerts couples to issues and situations w hich can potentially contribute to relationship breakdow n. Couples are assisted in learning how to cope w ith personality or values differences, lifestyle changes,

parenthood, retirem ent, careers and stepfam ilies.

The service w here w e launch the program today, the Stepfam ily A ssociation o f V ictoria, is a particularly good exam ple o f how the governm ent is delivering on its com m itm ent to m eet the need for fam ily support services.

It is estim ated that 20 per cent o f all families are stepfamilies, and stepfam ily partners are at m uch greater risk o f separation or divorce than those in a first relationship.


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The Stepfam ily A ssociation o f V ictoria says stepfam ilies face unrealistic com m unity perceptions b ecause they are not like the Brady B unch w ho seem to have no past, no ex-spouses and no extended fam ily and friends. T hey sim ply differ from nuclear families.

W hile the S tepfam ily A ssociation o f V ictoria educates and supports the ‘at risk ’ group o f stepfam ily partners, all couples w ill be able to benefit from the range o f m arriage and relationship education services launched today.

Media Contacts: N icholas H arford (A ttorney-G eneral’s O ffice) (06) 277 7300 Steve M artin (Stepfam ily A ssociation of V ictoria) 0412 003 055

Jack W oodforde (A ttorney-G eneral’s D ept) (06) 250 6512