Government Initiatives Aimed at Supporting Vulnerable Populations: Minister Tabuya’s Plans Unveiled

The government affirms its commitment to supporting vulnerable groups, including the poor, children, and the disabled. This was emphasized by Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Lynda Tabuya during her response to the 2024-2025 National Budget.

Tabuya noted that enhanced support for those in need would be assessed on an individual basis. She assured that the government will continue to prioritize services for Fiji’s most vulnerable populations.

One key initiative is the Transport Assistance Scheme, which has replaced the Bus Fare Assistance Scheme and supports approximately 48,000 beneficiaries. With an allocation of $13.4 million, this scheme subsidizes travel costs for senior citizens over 70 and persons with disabilities, providing $25 for transport assistance per beneficiary each month.

Additionally, the government plans to establish a Child Well-being Centre, pending consultation with relevant ministries and Cabinet approval. This center aims to offer support, rehabilitation, and reintegration for at-risk children, particularly those struggling with addiction or trauma, including street children.

A budget of $250,000 has been allocated for the renovation of Vunirewa Bible School in Serua, donated by the Methodist Church of Fiji, to serve this purpose. Furthermore, $200,000 has been designated for the Welfare Graduation Programme, which seeks to enhance the skills of beneficiaries through training programs, thereby linking them to suitable employment opportunities.

In legislative efforts, Tabuya highlighted the ongoing consultation process for the introduction of the Child Care and Protection Bill and the Child Justice Bill.

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