Sourced by CCH Political Alert
Media release issued by Attorney-General Philip Ruddock
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock will today launch a new Family Relationship Centre in Wagga Wagga - one of 25 new Family Relationship Centres that open their doors today.
The Family Relationship Centres are the cornerstone of the Howard Government's $397 million reforms to family law- the biggest ever investment in the family law system. The reforms are the most significant in 30 years and are aimed at helping families deal co-operatively and practically with relationship difficulties and separations. The reforms ensure family law puts children first.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock saidFrom today, Australians have access to a national network of 40 Centres. These Centres provide information to families who want to make their relationships stronger or who are having relationship difficulties, as well as referring them to other services that can help.
The Centres also provide dispute resolution services for families undergoing separation and needing assistance in resolving parenting arrangements'.
Fifteen Centres opened in July last year, and over the past year have proven themselves to be valuable community assets. I welcome today's opening of the additional 25 Centres.
To the end of May this year the 15 Family Relationship Centres already established by the Howard Government managed a total of 44,277 phone calls and 9151 walk-ins; 16,197 interviews and intake sessions and 6493 dispute resolution sessions.
"This success has been driven by the professionalism of the organisations operating the Centres and the highly skilled staff that are helping the Australian Government realise its commitment to a new, less adversarial culture in family law," Mr Ruddock said. "It is encouraging that more people are being persuaded that mediation is a better option than litigation."
The 25 additional Centres are spread across Australia with seven for New South Wales, six for Victoria, six for Queensland, three for Western Australia, two for South Australia, and one to be placed in Tasmania. An additional 25 Centres are set to open in July 2008, completing the national network of 65 Centres. Their contact details are below.
Families who cannot easily access a Centre can contact the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321, or access Family Relationships Online at www.familyrelationships.gov.au