News

Ministerial backdown

THE Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward has reversed her decision to slash payments to Illawarra foster parents by $6,000 a year.

State MP for Keira Ryan Park has welcomed the backdown, saying he warned it was a terrible policy and that it didn’t make sense.

“It was a mean policy…  The foster parents in our region are the unsung heroes of the community and to slash their payments was ridiculous,” Mr Park said.

Earlier this month Ms Goward announced a reduction in payments for carers from $836 to just $214 a fortnight.

“This was just another way she showed how disconnected from the community she really was,” he said.

“These parents are out there trying to do the right thing by helping these kids who often need intensive medical treatment and counselling. For the Liberal Government to walk away from them was shameful.”

The Ministers’ advice to the carers was to negotiate payments from the child in their care,” he said.

“Expecting the children to be responsible for contributing to the everyday household expenses was simply ludicrous.

After community pressure the Minister has announced the Government will provide the carers with an annual lump sum payment of up to $6,000.

“This is a small reprieve for families when we all know how tight the home budget is,” Mr Park said.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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