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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21856


Mr Laurie Ferguson asked the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 14 August 2003:

(1) Following the announcement on 13 May 2002 of the Government's package of measures to assist former British and Maltese child migrants, how much was spent in (a) 2002-2003, and (b) in 2003-2004 to date, on (i) travel funding to assist former child migrants to reunite with their family overseas, (ii) memorials to commemorate former child migrants, and (iii) family tracing and counselling services provided by the Child Migrants Trust.

(2) How many (a) British and (b) Maltese former child migrants have so far received assistance from the Travel Fund to travel overseas.

(3) Have concerns been expressed to him about the restrictive eligibility criteria for the Travel Fund; if so, what has been the Government's response to these concerns.

(4) How many memorials have so far received financial assistance from his department and, in respect of each memorial, what is (a) its location, (b) its significance, and (c) the extent of Commonwealth assistance provided.


Mr Hardgrave (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) During the 2002-03 financial year:

(i) expenses incurred in relation to the Travel Fund to assist former child migrants undertake reunion visits to either Britain or Malta were $736,013.

(ii) Nil expenditure on memorials.

(iii) $125,000 to the Child Migrants Trust for tracing and counselling services.

(b) During the 2003-04 financial year to 31August 2003:

(i) expenses incurred in relation to the Travel Fund account to assist former child migrants to undertake reunion visits to either Britain or Malta were $400,000.

(ii) Nil expenditure on memorials.

(iii) Nil to the Child Migrants Trust for tracing and counselling services.

(2) As at 31 August 2003:

(a) 302 British former child migrants have had applications approved, and 137 have travelled.

(b) 38 Maltese former child migrants have had applications approved, and 13 have travelled.

(3) Yes. Priority continues to be given to providing assistance to former child migrants who have not received assistance from any government to undertake a reunion visit. I have reiterated my request to State Governments to also contribute to the Travel Fund, as was recommended by the Senate Inquiry. State contributions would assist in meeting existing demand for an initial government-funded reunion visit, and allow consideration to be given to funding a second or subsequent government assisted visit.

(4) One memorial project has been completed. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth and Queensland, full payment will be made on receipt of an invoice from the Queensland Department of Families.

(a) St Joseph's Orphanage at Neerkol in Rockhampton.

(b) Most of the British former child migrants sent to Queensland resided at St Joseph's Orphanage in Neerkol. The memorial is centred on the original entrance gates to St Joseph's.

(c) Each of the six states which received former child migrants will receive $16,667 in Commonwealth funding towards its memorial project.