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A stronger, fairer Australia – statement on social inclusion

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The statement outlines a new approach to break down the barriers that stand between the most disadvantaged Australians and their participation in Australian society.

The statement’s priorities encompass:

    1. Targeting jobless families with children to increase work opportunities, improve parenting and build capacity
    2. Improving the life chances of children at greatest risk of long term disadvantage
    3. Reducing the incidence of homelessness
    4. Improving outcomes for people living with disability or mental illness and their carers
    5. Closing the gap for Indigenous Australians
    6. Breaking the cycle of entrenched and multiple disadvantage in particular neighbourhoods and communities.

Minister for Social Inclusion Julia Gillard launched the statement at the inaugural Social Inclusion Conference in Melbourne on 28 January.

“Social Inclusion means ensuring no Australian is left behind by giving all the opportunities, resources, capabilities and responsibilities to learn, work, connect with others and have a say in community life,” said Minister Gillard.

“Despite a strong economy in recent years, disadvantage still prevents many Australians from getting a fair go. The Government is determined to address this disadvantage, which costs the entire nation in lower productivity, chronic health problems, welfare dependence and fractured communities.”

The strategy will aim to form partnerships between the people in government, the not-for-profit sector and businesses that have the greatest experience in addressing disadvantage.

“The strategy builds on the many reforms and investments the Government has made over the past two years, including those in fairer workplace relations, employment, pension reform, housing and homelessness, early childhood education and schools,” said Minster Gillard.

The statement follows the release of the report Social Inclusion in Australia: How Australia is faring from the Australian Social Inclusion Board on 22 January 2010.

It also precedes the recent announcement to extend financial services to disadvantaged Australians.

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