Release type: Joint Media Release


$47 million to help teenage parents finish school


The Hon Jenny Macklin MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

A new Australian Government measure aimed at helping teenage parents complete their education and ensuring their children are ready for school, commences in ten communities from today.

As part of Building Australia’s Future Workforce, the Australian Government is investing $47 million over four years in the Helping Teenage Parents measure to help teenage parents in disadvantaged communities to overcome obstacles and work towards attaining a Year 12 or equivalent qualification. 

The initiative is also focused on activities designed to achieve good early health and education outcomes for the children of teenage parents.

Minister for Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten said building skills and capabilities in teenage parents provides a pathway to better life outcomes and that education is the foundation stone to achieving it.

With a young child, achieving this goal can be difficult. That’s why the Government is providing young parents with support, including:

  • access to quality child care while they are studying or training, with close to 100 per cent of their child care costs covered through the Jobs Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance program
  • individualised case management by Centrelink and service providers to help them enrol and attend school, TAFE or other training, and to give them access to education and employment services such as Youth Connections, Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services
  • help with parenting responsibilities through playgroups, parenting education classes, mentoring and support groups, and early learning programs through Communities for Children services
  • guaranteed training places delivered through a national partnership with states and territories.

Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, said teenage parents living in the trial communities who are receiving Parenting Payment, will be required to attend interviews every six months with Centrelink until they complete Year 12 or an equivalent qualification or until their youngest child turns six.

“Parents will work with Centrelink to develop a participation plan that includes activities designed to support them in their parenting role and in gaining a good education,” Ms Macklin said.

From 3 January 2012, up to 1,000 letters outlining the new measure, and inviting participants to an initial interview, will be sent to eligible participants in the 10 selected local government areas of:

  • Playford (SA)
  • Hume (Vic)
  • Shepparton (Vic)
  • Burnie (Tas)
  • Bankstown (NSW)
  • Wyong (NSW)
  • Shellharbour (NSW)
  • Rockhampton (Qld)
  • Logan (Qld)
  • Kwinana (WA)

Minister for Human Services, Brendan O’Connor, said the Australian Government was committed to giving young people the best opportunities to get an education and a good job, whatever their circumstances.

“It is important that young parents feel that having a child doesn’t mean the end of their education,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The Helping Teenage Parents measure will ensure that young parents are supported to identify and achieve goals for themselves and their children.”