EMIGRANT welfare groups around Australia have received a welcome funding boost through the Emigrant Support Programme, with several organisations receiving higher grant amounts than 2012.
Over $590,000 has been distributed to 15 community and support organisations across Australia, an increase on the $385, 581 shared between ten organisations in 2012.
The biggest beneficiary is the Irish Australian Welfare Bureau (IAWB) in Bondi, which has received a grant of $160,000, up from its 2012 allocation of $134,415. The Melbourne-based Australian Irish Welfare Bureau (AIWB) has received $138, 132, up from $106,045 in 2012. The Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce has received a grant of $32,700, up from $26,124 last year.
Funding for the Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland (IASAQ) also rose, up to $81,990 from $65,737 in 2012. The Claddagh Association in Perth, which provides emigrant support and welfare services for the Irish community in Western Australia, has been given $17,000, up from $10,181 in 2012.
IAWB president Elizabeth Kenny said the bureau was extremely grateful for the grant. Ms Kenny said the funds would help it to cover administration costs, one full-time staff member and another part-time staff member.
“We certainly understand the financial situation the government is in,” she said.
AIWB administrator Marion O’Hagan also welcomed this year’s allocation.
Ms O’Hagan said the Melbourne-based bureau had put in a similar funding application to recent years. “Every year we get it, it’s a bonus,” she told the Irish Echo.
IASAQ president Peter Long said this year’s allocation was not a ‘significant increase’ for the association, but it would help to cover its overheads.
“We’re very pleased to get it, it’s needed,” said Mr Long.
He said the association was called on to handle fewer fatality cases in 2013.
“It’s been a different mix [of cases] but this is the first year that we have had less tragic events,” he said.
Among the other recipients, were the Queensland Gaelic Football and Hurling Association, which receives a grant of $65,000.
In Victoria, grants were also awarded to the Melbourne Irish Festival and the Friends of St Brigid’s Association. In New South Wales, the Irish Language School of Sydney, the Dictionary of Sydney, the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee and the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Parade were also beneficiaries.
The Canberra Irish Club and the Irish Australia Association of South Australia both received grants of $10,000.
Ireland Ambassador to Australia Noel White said he was delighted that overall funding for Australia had increased this year.
“Supporting Irish communities overseas, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalised members of those communities, is a priority for the government,” Mr White said, in a statement.
“The Emigrant Support Programme continues to be an important and practical expression of the Government’s commitment to Irish communities abroad,” he said.
Mr White said the funding will help ensure the ongoing delivery of services for vulnerable members of the Irish community through frontline welfare organisations and foster Irish identity in Australia.
Top 5 recipients