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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 354

(Question No. 181)


Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 16 April 1985:

Is the Attorney-General aware that services provided by the Marriage Guidance Council in the Northern Territory are currently limited by its budget of only $77,000 per annum, which means that it is only able to operate one office in Darwin, to serve the whole Territory; if so:

(a) will the Attorney-General outline what prop- osals, if any, the Government has to extend the services offered by the Marriage Guidance Council to those who live in rural and outback areas, in view of the difficulty this poses for people who live hundreds of miles from Darwin, if they wish to use the service; and

(b) if the Government has no proposals to extend the Council's facilities, why not.


Senator Gareth Evans —The Attorney- General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

It is assumed that the amount of $77,000 referred to is the grant initially made available to the Marriage Guidance Council of the Northern Territory Inc., for the 1984-85 year which represented a 26 per cent increase over the 1983-84 grant level (The Council lodged an application for a supplementary grant of $13,240 and an additional grant of $10,000 has since been made. This amount together with the financial assistance of $77,000 already given represents over 88 per cent of the agency's revised budgeted expenditure of $98,805 for the year).

(a) and (b) The extension of services into other parts of the Territory is a matter for consideration by the Council itself which is an independent autonomous body. Any application for financial assistance received from the Council for the purpose would be considered on its merits having in mind the viability of the proposal including the likely public use of the service, and in the light of the Government's budgetary strategy at the time.