The Federal Government’s new Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has axed the relationship counselling vouchers championed by his predecessor.
Mr Morrison confirmed the Stronger Relationships trial will end next week, and the $17 million saved will be spent on frontline social services instead.
Former minister Kevin Andrews introduced the voucher plan for couples who wanted advice on issues like parenting, conflict resolution and financial management.
But Mr Morrison said 90 per cent of the vouchers remained unused and the money would be better spent elsewhere.
“During the first seven months of the trial, which began on 1 July last year, only around 10,000 couples had registered for the scheme and only one-third of these had gone on to attend a relationship education or counselling service,” Mr Morrison said.
“This uptake is well below the 100,000 subsidies available under the trial.”
Couples who already registered will have until the end of June to attend their counselling sessions.
Last July when the plan was announced, Mr Andrews said the Federal Government wanted to reduce the country’s divorce rate.
In 2012, 49,917 divorces were granted in Australia, an increase of 2 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.