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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 815

(Question No. 1311)

Senator Lees asked the Minister for Family Services, upon notice, on 11 April 1994:

  With reference to the problems being experienced by services supporting families in Victoria caused through reductions in State Government funding:

  (1) Is the Minister aware that; (a) after the November 1992 Victorian State election, no funding was provided to the peak body, the Family Support Association of Victoria, despite a previous commitment by the Department of Community Services, Victoria, to fund the organisation to the extent of $110,000; (b) the phased introduction of mandatory reporting has severely taxed the ability of the service to provide an adequate child protection system and the service is facing an increase in demand in some areas of 40 per cent, which the increase in direct response protective personnel in no way satisfied; (c) the State Government has been offering attractive retrenchment packages to

long-serving workers in the field and they are being replaced by a much smaller number of new inexperienced workers which in an area as crucial as child protection, where ongoing monitoring of a case is vital, is most unsatisfactory and frustrating for those remaining in the service; and (d) there are many other services to families and children in Victoria suffering cuts in funding, for example, families first programs, substitute residential care, respite care and foster care.

  (2) Is the Federal Government concerned at the cutbacks to welfare services in Victoria; if so, what action will it take to ensure these vital services are restored.

Senator Crowley —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) and (2) The Minister and the Federal Government are aware that there have been cutbacks to welfare services in Victoria. Funding and administration of welfare services in Victoria is the responsibility of the Victorian State Government.