1200 jobless families
THERE are more than 1200 jobless families and 500 teenage parents in Rockhampton, a city that has been identified as one of the top 10 most disadvantaged places in Australia.
The Federal Government will throw more than $300 million at the 10 areas identified across the nation as part of a new three-pronged welfare reform program announced earlier this week as part of the Budget.
Today, The Morning Bulletin presents a blueprint of how this money will be spent, in a new effort to end the entrenched disadvantage that has plagued the city.
At the forefront of pushing for these reforms to be implemented in Rockhampton was Federal Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore.
She said her speech in Parliament last year about the need for change in Rockhampton was the beginning of her push that could result in more than 1000 residents having 50% of their income quarantined.
Ms Livermore said yesterday: “That was the start of it. Since then I've made my views and desire clear that Rockhampton be brought as quickly as possible into the new reforms ahead of the rest of the country.
“This is a very big initiative and it will have to be underpinned by involvement from the whole community.
“We are putting up the scaffolding, if you will, to implement changes to help these people and we will have a whole year to work out how this will work locally – and we want the community to be a part of that.”
The income management part of the reforms will come under the budget initiative, “Building Australia's Future Workforce”, as part of a national $117.5 million program over five years to introduce targeted income management to five communities from July 1 next year.
A second arm of the changes comes from a new investment of $47 million over four years to “trial new measures to make sure that teenage parents finish school and support their children” from January 2012.
The third initiative was a $71 million trial for 10 of the most disadvantaged communities to support jobless families get a job and support their children.