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  • Family relationship centres to open
  • The Age
  • 03/07/2006 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 61 articles in 2006 )
The first 14 Family Relationship Centres are opening around Australia, signalling the start of what the federal government hopes will be a landmark shift in family law.

The government is establishing dozens of the centres across Australia in an attempt to resolve divorce and custody disputes before they reach court.
Acting Attorney-General Chris Ellison said the centres could offer information to families no matter what the status of their relationships.

"The (centres) are the cornerstone of the Australian government's new family law system," Senator Ellison said in a statement.

"The changes to the law, supported by these new family relationship services, are part of a new system of co-operation, and we are hoping it will lead to a change in the culture of family law.

"I welcome the opening, on time, of all centres today as a turning point for Australian families who need assistance with relationships."

Senator Ellison said the government had also established a family relationship advice line and a family relationships website to help people affected by relationship or separation issues.

The first 14 centres are in Penrith, Lismore, Caringbah and Wollongong in NSW; Mildura, Sunshine, Frankston and Ringwood in Victoria, Strathpine in Queensland, Joondalup in Western Australia, Elizabeth in South Australia, and Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.

Townsville's Family Relationship Centre will open on Tuesday because of Monday's public holiday in the city.

The government plans to open a further 50 centres around Australia by 2008.

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