Thursday, April 19, 2007

Australia Common Sense Family Dispute Resolution.

NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR FAMILY DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The Government has announced new regulations that will govern the
introduction of compulsory dispute resolution in custody cases and the
accreditation of family dispute resolution practitioners.

From 1 July, courts will not be able to hear an application for a parenting
order in a new case unless the person seeking the order first obtains a
certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner. There
are some exceptions, such as in cases of family violence or child abuse.

All family dispute resolution practitioners must be included on a new family
dispute resolution register in order to issue valid certificates.
Accreditation rules are also being introduced to ensure that families
receive quality family dispute resolution services.

"The changes reflect the Australian Government's desire to change the
culture of parenting disputes from confrontation to co-operation. We would
like to see parents negotiate, not litigate," said Mr Ruddock.

"Family dispute resolution practitioners and others working in the family
law system have an integral role to play in helping families sit down and
talk about the arrangements for their children rather than fighting it out
in long and costly court battles."

To help people working in the family law system implement the new
requirements, information sessions will be held in all major capital cities
and some regional locations across Australia during May 2007.

Further details about the changes and the dates and locations of information
sessions are available at OLE_LINK1
www.ag.gov.au/fdrproviders.

Media Contact: Michael Pelly 0419 278 715

OLE_LINK2SELECTION PROCESS FOR FAMILY RELATIONSHIP SERVICES

Details of the next selection process for organisations seeking funding for
family relationship services have been announced today by Attorney-General
Philip Ruddock and Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous
Affairs, Mal Brough.

The process for the next 25 Family Relationship Centres, 14 Children’s
Contact Services and 22 Early Intervention Services under the Family
Relationship Services Program will commence on 4 August 2007. The open
competitive selection process will be jointly conducted by the
Attorney-General’s Department and Department of Families, Community Services
and Indigenous Affairs.

The outcome of the selection process will be announced by early 2008. The
new Family Relationship Centres and services will open in July 2008. This
will build on the achievements of the first 40 Centres, 15 of which opened
in July 2006, with the next 25 due to open in July 2007.

The Government is delighted with how well the Family Relationship Centres
have been received by the community. The Family Relationship Centres are
being used as a first point of contact by people wanting information, advice
and assistance with strengthening family relationships, preventing
separation or resolving relationship difficulties after separation.

In addition, Children’s Contact Services help children and parents in high
conflict families maintain relationships after separation and divorce.

The Early Intervention Services deliver relationship counselling, education
and skills training, and men and family relationship services, to improve
communication and family relationships.

Early Intervention Services aim to strengthen family relationships by
providing all family members with the relationship skills to effectively
manage change and develop problem-solving skills to prevent family breakdown
and help sustain relationships over time.

Media contacts: Mr Ruddock’s Office: Michael Pelly 0419 278 715

Mr Brough’s Office: Kevin Donnellan 0408 491
956

Attachment

The 2007‑08 selection process will consider applications for funding for
services in the following locations:

Family Relationship Centres

* New South Wales: Sydney city, Bankstown, Brookvale, Parramatta,
Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Gosford, Tamworth, Taree.

* Victoria: Broadmeadows, Chadstone, Melbourne city, Shepparton,
Warrnambool.

* Queensland: Bundaberg, Chermside, Logan, Mackay, Toowoomba.

* Western Australia: Bunbury, Perth city, Pilbara/Kimberley.

* South Australia: Adelaide, Mount Gambier.

Early Intervention Services (a mix of Men and Family Relationship
Counselling, Family Relationship Education and Skills Training, and Family
Relationship Counselling in each of the locations listed below)

* New South Wales: Bankstown, Bathurst, Brookvale, Coffs Harbour,
Dubbo, Gosford, Parramatta, Sydney City, Tamworth, Taree.

* Victoria: Broadmeadows, Chadstone, Melbourne City*, Shepparton,
Warrnambool.

* Queensland: Bundaberg, North Brisbane, Mackay, Toowoomba*.

* Western Australia: Bunbury, Perth City.

* South Australia: Adelaide.

* funding available for Family Relationship Education and Skills Training
and Family Relationship Counselling only.

Children’s Contact Services

* New South Wales: Inner Sydney, Tamworth, Wyong, Port Macquarie.

* Victoria: Inner Melbourne, Cranbourne, Shepparton, Warrnambool.

* Queensland: Caboolture, Hervey Bay.

* Western Australia: Armadale, Albany, Kalgoorlie.

* South Australia:
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