Joint Media Release with Senator The Hon Ursula Stephens, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector
The Government’s Social Inclusion Agenda has ensured that across Government, programs are targeted to make a real difference for disadvantaged and marginalised Australians.
The 2008-09 Budget includes a range of key measures needed to advance the Social Inclusion Agenda.
The new Australian Social Inclusion Board will be supported by the Social Inclusion Unit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Board will consult widely and advise the Australian Government on various aspects of social inclusion. Both the Board and the Social Inclusion Unit will drive a whole of government approach to furthering the Social Inclusion Agenda.
Initiatives being delivered in this Budget to promote social inclusion span from the early childhood years to formal education, from employment services to extra support for Indigenous Australians including:
- $520 million for universal access to preschool for all children in the year before formal school
- $32.5 million for the home interaction program
- up to 238,000 new vocational training places for those outside the workforce over five years
- $3.7 billion reformed employment services system focused on providing enhanced support to unemployed people, particularly those with real barriers
- $150 million for 600 homes across Australia for families and individuals who are homeless.
Investing in education, training and skills is fundamental to ensuring our economic sustainability, optimising our human capital and fighting disadvantage.
The Rudd Government will help the most disadvantaged Australians to move into sustainable work through a simpler, more effective and better targeted employment services system.
This budget contains major new investments in building a new approach across the life cycle. Backed by new national targets, these investments will create new opportunities for millions of Australians and targeted support for those facing severe disadvantage.