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National dads project gets $5.4m boost

A program to help men become better fathers will be rolled out nationally thanks to a federal government funding boost of $5.4 million over three years.

The Fathering Project holds dads groups in primary schools, encouraging men to speak with other fathers about their experience as well as spend time with their children.

The initiative began six years ago in Western Australia to address child substance abuse, suicide and self-harm, with operations now also in Victoria, Queensland and NSW.

Families Minister Paul Fletcher has stressed the importance of peer support for fathers, as well as spending one-on-one time with their children.

"It might be just walking in the park, it might be going to see some sport, going to watch a movie, but all the research shows that if dads spend time with their children, it helps them be more effective fathers," Mr Fletcher told Seven's Sunrise on Thursday.

"And that's so important to our children's development."

The funding will also be used to help expand the program's digital resources.

"So dads will have a place to go both within a school where a group's set up but also to go online, just get some tips on how to be a more effective dad," Mr Fletcher said.

The Fathering Project would also help men become more aware of the risk of being caught up with work and not spending enough time with their kids, he added.

© AAP 2019