June van de Klashorst

June van de Klashorst


Richard Court

Richard Court


    Putting families first - the Coalition's plan for strong communities

    21/01/2001 10:00 AM

    The Coalition’s Family Policy launched by Premier Richard Court today contains initiatives to benefit all family members from babies and toddlers, to youth, school students, men and women.

    Launching the policy this morning with Family and Children’s Services Minister
    June van de Klashorst, Mr Court said families were the foundation of Western Australian society.

    The Premier said the Coalition’s initiatives reflected its commitment to the belief that strong families built strong communities.

    “The Family Policy maintains the Coalition’s staunch opposition to going ‘soft on drugs’ as proposed by the Labor Party,” he said.

    “The effect on families of allowing easier access to drugs is just too horrific to contemplate.”

    Mr Court also said the Family Policy contained a number of new initiatives in addition to programs already in place. The new initiatives include:
    • expanding the Building Blocks program, which builds on the strength of families and improves their children’s health and well-being. Parents of each newborn baby will be eligible for a visit from a child health nurse to offer help and advice. Cost - an additional $4 million increasing the total expenditure to $15.5 million over five years;
    • as part of the expansion of Building Blocks, produce a video series for parents with a newborn child to provide information on positive parenting. There will also be a video for students in years 11 and 12 offering information on the realities and responsibilities of being a parent;
    • an interactive website which will allow parents throughout the State, particularly those in rural and remote areas, for the first time to receive instant online professional advice on family problems;
    • planning and establishing a Children’s Centre in Perth incorporating the Museum of Early Childhood, an indigenous story-telling area, a performance space, ‘learning through play’ areas, parenting information resources including advice on current and upcoming children’s activities, and an interactive playground for families and children in partnership with the City of Perth and Edith Cowan University. Cost. A capital cost of $2.5 million over five years will be allocated; and -
    • funding an increased participation of Western Australia in the Kids Helpline - a national freecall telephone counselling service for young people aged from 5 - 18.

    Family and Children’s Services Minister June van de Klashorst said the Family Policy also focussed on some recently announced services for men.

    “The Coalition will fund support services in the metropolitan area for men in crisis including short-term support such as accommodation, counselling, group support and referral services,” Mrs van de Klashorst said.

    “A multi-media campaign to increase the awareness of the value of men in families as nurturers and carers will also be run over the next three years.”

    Mrs van de Klashorst said the policies were based on research that consistently showed the family was the most important influence on a child’s development, and that the early years of a child’s life were a critical influence on later development.

    Early intervention for families experiencing difficulties could prevent a much greater social problem in years to come, she said.

    In addition, the Minister said the Coalition would respond to the needs of Western Australian families by:
    • expanding the services available to families at the time of separation or divorce, including programs to help parents focus on their children’s needs and courses to assist people representing themselves in the Family Court;
    • establishing five new mobile playgroup activity services in Western Australia for families unable to access existing services;
    • establishing a family information service through a free 1800 number and a website containing all the information on all the State Government services available for families;
    • a small grants program, Lifetime Links, would be expanded to improve contact between young people and seniors with particular emphasis on families and children in rural and remote areas;
    • an expansion of the successful Cadets WA program to allow the participation of an additional 2,000 young Western Australians. A State Youth Round Table will also be established;
    • all not-for-profit organisations funded by Family and Children’s Services will not be subject to the conditions applying to profit-making companies and will be exempt from re-tendering every three years while being subject to normal Government accountability and performance standards; and -
    • introducing a new Family and Children’s Services Bill to reflect the changed way in which Government delivers services to families.

    Mrs van de Klashorst said the initiatives built on the new ways of supporting and strengthening families introduced by the Coalition over the last eight years.

    “In spite of the social changes that have taken place, the family remains the most influential of all social institutions and the Coalition will continue to support and strengthen this fundamental part of our social structure,” she said.

    Media contacts:
    Premier Justine Whittome 9222 9475
    Minister Owen Cole 9481 7810