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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5944

Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (22:15): The employment initiatives in the budget are designed to assist the most disadvantaged job seekers, such as long-term unemployed, unemployed with literacy and numeracy problems, teenage parents, people with disabilities and people with a variety of social issues. The types of programs that are needed are positive programs designed to address this level of disadvantage. They are needed in areas such as Windale, which is a suburb in the Shortland electorate that has a significant number of disadvantaged job seekers, single parents and people with disabilities who would benefit from being able to re-enter the workforce and who, in many cases, are keen to re-enter the workforce. I am working with local, state and federal services and with employment providers, along with, hopefully, the state member, who is a member of the O'Farrell government, to maximise access to initiatives that are available for these job seekers. I am particularly keen to see that they are able to access the initiatives in this year's budget.

A program that has already been achieving some great outcomes, and is exactly the type of program that is needed in disadvantaged areas such as Windale, is run by JobQuest. The program is called HIPPY, the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters. This program is funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations through the Brotherhood of St Laurence. In Windale, JobQuest has been running the program since 2009. HIPPY is primarily designed to improve educational outcomes for children. However, along the way it has a lot of other benefits. It is a structured approach for parents preparing their children for school. It works with parents by involving them in preschool activities such as packing and pasting. JobQuest works through tutors who work with the parents. People either self-refer or are referred through local agencies. The program has grown to such an extent that it is now run out of the local PCYC. Four tutors recruited from the program are now in paid employment and are looking at returning to full-time employment. This is a great outcome. This program is funded until the end of 2012 and is exactly the type of program that is needed to help the most disadvantaged job seekers and their children in our community.

I will give an idea of some of the people who have been involved in the program. One mother had her first child when she was 15 and left school to care for her baby. She had a second child at 19, and now cares for two children full time. She is fairly new to Windale and found it difficult to make contact and build up support networks. Since she has been involved in HIPPY she has developed contact with people in the local area and spoken of the possibility of being one of the tutoring staff herself, which I see as a really good outcome. Another mother is a long-term resident of the Windale area. She has one child, who starts school next year. She finished school in year 9 and has never worked. She was constantly cancelling appointments until it was discovered she could not read. She has been involved in the program and, as well as helping her child, it has been helping her with her reading problem. One parent who completed the program as a parent participant and tutor is now working in a permanent position. HIPPY is a great program. It is the kind of program that is needed in disadvantaged areas. It is a program that gives hope. It is a positive program. It is a program that can help long-term unemployed people get back into the workforce. More importantly, it is a program designed to help preschool children in their preparation for school. (Time expired)