From 1 July 2014, up to 100,000 couples nationwide will be able to register for a $200 Government-funded subsidy to use towards relationship education or counselling.
These payments can be used by couples to seek help with preparation for committed relationships, intimacy, marriage and relationship milestones such as becoming parents, economic changes and step-parenting.
The vouchers will be open to all couples in a committed relationship, including engaged, married, de‐facto and same‐sex couples.
Relationships Australia (SA) has more than 60 years’ experience delivering these services and will be providing a variety of options for couples to develop valuable relationship skills.
The subsidy scheme was first announced by Kevin Andrews, Minister for Social Services, in January. A spokesperson for the government said the project aims to help couples achieve a greater degree of happiness and stability and thereby a better environment for their children.
Chair of Relationships Australia’s National Board, Mat Rowell, welcomed the initial announcement saying, “Relationships Australia is supportive of the Government’s commitment to early intervention for couples.”
“Evidence shows there are positive results for couples and families when they have been equipped with the skills to manage difficult times as well as the benefits of help seeking behaviour during difficult periods in relationships, “ Mr Rowell said.
The trial will run initially for 12 months, from 1 July 2014. The subsidy will be capped at 100,000 couples and will cost $20 million over its time span.
A recent story in The Australian provides further information about how the relationship vouchers will work.