Marriage Education Courses as part of the Stronger Relationships trial in Australia
What is the Stronger Relationships trial?
The Stronger Relationships trial is a way the Australian Government is making access to Relationship counselling easier for Australian families. The trial offers couples a $200 subsidy for relationship education and counselling and aims to help couples build and maintain healthy and mutually satisfying relationships through these courses and counselling.
Why run the trial?
The Australian government believes that there is a big increase in longevity of a relationship if some form of counselling or marriage course is experienced.
Relationship and family breakdown place a significant economic burden on the nation that is estimated to be around $3 billion each year.
If intervention is early, the government is committed to trials such as the Stronger Relationships trial to prevent future personal, social and economic costs of relationships and the family breakdown.
By strengthening the relationship from the beginning, and curbing any chance of a family breakdown, the government aims to help couples achieve a greater degree of stability and therefore a better environment for the children.
How can relationship education help?
Relationship education and counselling helps couples work through problems. It gives them skills to deal with challenges and changes before they become big issues.
Examples of these challenges and changes are moving in together, having a baby, getting married, or managing their money.
These courses can help in communication and conflict resolution skills have been shown to increase.
Who can be involved in the trial?
The trial is open to:
- Those over 18 years of age.
- Australian Citizens or Residents.
- Those in a committed relationship.
As long as you are one of the above: you don’t have to be or getting married, you don’t have to have children or living together. This makes it fair and accessible for many!
When can you register?
The trial began on the 1st of July 2014 and there is a limit of 100 000 couples.
You are encouraged to register and book early to avoid missing out.
How do you register?
It is very easy to register by visiting the Australian Governments website at www.dss.gov.au/strongerrelationhips
You will need to answer a few questions about your relationship and then be provided with a subsidy reference number that needs to be supplied to your chosen authorised provider.
What services are in the trial?
Once you have registered and found an authorised provider, the provider will assess the couples needs and goals and go about providinga service with these needs in mind.
It will usually entail one of the following:
- Five hours for relationship education.
- Four hours for inventory-style pre marriage education, or
- Two hours for counselling.
Who are some of the Authorised Suppliers?
Only authorised providers on the panel can accept the $200 subsidy.
There are a long list of Marriage Educators that are involved in the trial that have been selected due to their experience and include in WA:
- Relationships Australia
How much will it cost?
The cost will depend on each couple. When registering in the trial each couple will receive the $200 subsidy towards their chosen program and a couple may need to contribute some payment to their service.
It is suggested the couple discuss fees with their chosen authorised Stronger Relationships provider at their first meeting.
All information for this article is from the Australian Governments Stronger Relationships website.
Brad Whitelock, Perth Wedding Celebrant.
Ph: 0431 974 608