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Mentors to assist disadvantaged young Australians National Action Plan.

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Mentors to Assist Disadvantaged Young Australians National Action Plan

Joint Media Release:

• Minister for Family Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - Mal Brough

• Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs - Andrew Robb

16 July 2006

Australians in danger of social isolation, including some Australians of the Muslim faith, will be helped to integrate into broader Australian society through a mentoring programme supported by the Australian Government.

The $620,000 extension to the Mentor Marketplace programme was announced by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Robb, today.

The initiative forms part of the National Action Plan (NAP) for social cohesion, harmony and security.

“The programme will link socially disadvantaged young Australians with appropriate role models who will offer guidance that will help them better integrate into the broader community,” said Mr Brough.

“They will be offered guidance on education, employment and social and cultural matters.”

“Research in Australia consistently shows youth from some disadvantaged communities, including some Muslim communities, to be experiencing a high degree of alienation and isolation,” said Mr Robb.

“Mentoring will provide an effective tool to assist people at risk by providing trusted and experienced guidance and support.”

In the first instance, pilot programmes will be run in two locations with high levels of unemployment and social disadvantage, namely the suburbs of Macquarie Fields, in Western Sydney, and Lakemba, in South West Sydney.

The mentors from the Muslim and non-Muslim community will be selected through consultation with the Muslim Community Reference Group (MCRG) and other appropriate organisations.

Mr Brough said the programme was expected to contribute to increased participation in work, education, training and community life.

Mr Robb said the mentoring services would be provided for 100 young Australians each year, once the programme was fully implemented.

“This programme will encourage greater cultural understanding, tolerance and social cohesion between Australians,” he said.


Minister Brough - Suzanne Ferguson 0448 829 068 Mr Robb - Jonathan Granger 0417 460 336