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  • Most needy miss out on family centres
  • By Kerry-Anne Walsh
  • Sunday Herald Sun
  • 16/10/2005 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 47 articles in 2005 )
A labor electorate in Sydney with Australia's highest number of fractured families has missed out on a Family Relationship Centre from the Federal Government.

But the well-heeled electorates of the Prime Minister and Health Minister Tony Abbott, which have among the country's lowest levels of single and separated parents, both received one.

The western suburbs seat of Chifley, which missed out when Attorney-General Philip Ruddock last week announced eight new Sydney metropolitan centres in an Australia-wide list of 50 winners, embraces the disadvantaged suburbs of St Marys, Mount Druitt, Rooty Hill and Doonside.

It has such a disturbing pattern of domestic and family trouble that a special new district court is being built at Mount Druitt to deal with criminal domestic problems.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has rated Chifley No. 1 out of Australia's 150 lower house electorates on a range of domestic and family breakdown criteria.

The electorate houses the highest number of children supported by maintenance payments, the highest number of maintenance payers, the greatest level of single parents receiving benefits and the most couples receiving government support for their children.

In contrast, the Prime Minister's north shore electorate of Bennelong, which will have a centre built at North Ryde, has the 10th-lowest number of single-parent families in Australia, the seventh-lowest number of single parents receiving benefits and few children supported by maintenance payments.

Mr Abbott's northern beaches electorate of Warringah, which will get a centre at Brookvale, has even better family friendly statistics than Bennelong, having among the country's lowest levels of family disharmony.

Labor MP for Chifley Roger Price branded the placement of the family relationship centres as "a corruption of public administration".

Mr Price, who has sat on family law committees and agitated for a centre for his electorate, said his constituents were being "dudded" by the Government playing politics.

"This is such a delicate and sensitive area, you would think it would be free of pork-barrelling," he said.

Mr Price said Mr Ruddock had promised the family relationship centres would be granted on need, "so why is the Prime Minister getting one when his electorate is ranked 145 out of 150 on need, and I'm ranked number one?".


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