The Australian Government has committed to ten years of support for the health and safety of children and families in the Northern Territory, with the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory project.
The project aims to close the indigenous disadvantage gap, which is higher in the Northern Territory than anywhere else in Australia.
Stronger Futures is a $73.5 million investment in making communities safer, and families and children healthier; help provide quality education; help create jobs in communities; address alcohol abuse; improve the quality of housing in remote communities; and deliver basic services including health, education and police support to those who live in outstations and homelands.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon recently announced that new Communities for Children services will be provided in 10 remote communities by mid-year.
According to Macklin, all children deserve the opportunity to get a great start in life, regardless of where they live.
Macklin also said that families will be able to benefit from early learning and literacy classes, parenting and family support programs, and child nutrition advice.
Fifteen more communities are expected to benefit from the services. Starting on July 2013, services will be provided in Ngukurr, Galiwinku, Wadeye, Ntaria and Santa Teresa. Meanwhile, Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Utopia, Engawala and Lajamanu will benefit from the free services in 2014. Five more communities are expected to receive the services by July 2017.
“I know how important it is that this vital support isn’t just going to the big towns, but is also benefiting Aboriginal families in remote communities and homelands,” Snowdon said.
Snowdon vowed to ensure that the Aboriginal communities will have a strong voice in choosing the type of services that will be delivered from the Communities for Children service. He also vowed to make local Aboriginal organisations partners in delivering the mentioned services.
The Stronger Futures package will entail funding for eight existing playgroups for 10 more years to develop children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive abilities; supporting 225 early learning and child care services at nine crèches in very remote Aboriginal communities; and providing $99 million for practical parenting support for families with children at risk of needing the child protection system in 23 locations, among other initiatives.
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