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Tuesday, 18 October 1983
Page: 1814

Mr CROSS —Can the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations inform the House whether he has made a decision concerning the funding of projects under the community youth support scheme for the 12-month period commencing 1 November 1983?

Mr WILLIS —I thank the honourable member for Brisbane for his question. Yes, I can inform the House that the Government has made decisions regarding the funding of CYSS projects for the 12-month period commencing on 1 November this year. As honourable members will be aware, in the Budget context we announced an increase of $4 1/2m or some 27 per cent in the funds available for CYSS projects . That enabled us, so we said then, to fund some 30 new projects. In the event we have been able to fund 31 new projects. We have upgraded 38 projects. There are no downgradings of projects at this stage, although some projects may be downgraded if they do not lift their game in the next few months. We have increased the standard grant levels. There are three grant levels and they all have been increased by 17 to 21 per cent which means that most projects have had increases of that order.

Some projects, however, which were not on the standard grant levels would have received little or no increase if no other funding arrangements had been introduced, so to ensure the continuance of CYSS at least at its present level in all areas of the country we have applied a minimum increase of 10 per cent for any CYSS project which would not otherwise have achieved that increase. The overall impact of that, I believe, will be to improve considerably the performance of CYSS in the community. The Government regards it as an important project. The level of youth unemployment, of course, is extraordinarily high. The CYSS program is one small way in which the Commonwealth seeks to address that very severe problem.

The additional funds which have been made available enabling us to upgrade the level of most of the projects and to provide for a substantial number of new projects will greatly improve its capacity to assist young people. In addition we have also provided for some $350,000 to be available for training of CYSS project officers so that they can obtain some training in a way which is not currently available. I think all honourable members would agree that there is a need to improve the level of the CYSS program. It has considerable variation from area to area, but overall I believe the whole Parliament sees this as a worthwhile program. I am sure that in the community at large the funding arrangements, which I will announce in detail in a letter to all honourable members this afternoon, will be well approved.