Mental health a priority in the bush
With dry times impacting heavily on many of the farming communities across the Parkes electorate, I am pleased to advise the Coalition Government will provide funding to support the mental health of farmers, as well as mining workers and Indigenous Australians living in rural and regional Australia.
Two counselling organisations, Aussie Helpers and Rural and Remote Mental Health, will each receive $1 million to further support the mental health of people living in the bush.
The $2 million investment will assist the organisations to deliver a range of mental health support programs including suicide-prevention measures.
This investment will enable Aussie Helpers, in partnership with Virtual Psychologist, and Rural and Remote Mental Health, to provide more support for people living and working in country communities.
Aussie Helpers’ Virtual Psychologist is a great example of an organisation utilising modern technology to overcome long distances. It provides a 24-hour SMS and phone counselling service for rural and remote communities as well as advice and referral service for local practitioners.
Rural and Remote Mental Health’s initiatives include tailored support for the agricultural and mining sectors as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Importantly, like the Virtual Psychologist program, Rural and Remote Mental Health’s programs are backed up by a strong online presence and telephone support available 24/7.
Mental illness does not discriminate and it is estimated that nearly half of all Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime.
The Government is committed to investing in the mental health of all Australians including people living in regional, rural and remote Australia.
The 2018-19 Federal Budget included an additional $338.1 million for mental health funding.
Financial counselling for those in need
For those concerned about debts, free help is available from a Financial Counsellor through the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
Financial Counsellors work in community organisations and are qualified professionals who provide free and confidential information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. They can help with your bills and debts, and can provide practical guidance on how to manage your money. For more information, head to the ASIC MoneySmart website (www.moneysmart.gov.au).
For debts associated with farms, you can speak to a Rural Financial Counsellor by phoning 1800 940 404.
Disability support through NDIS
People with disability in the Parkes electorate will benefit from the Coalition Government’s 2018 Budget.
According to the latest figures, more than 1300 people with disability across the electorate will access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The Coalition Government guaranteed funding for the NDIS in this year’s Budget, which also provided $92.6 million to ensure Australians who were users of Commonwealth services but not eligible for the NDIS would continue to receive support. A further $64 million was provided for a Jobs and Market Fund that would promote NDIS job opportunities and improve local business access to the NDIS.
The Government continues to deliver the rollout of the NDIS that is placing people at the centre of the system, and gives them choice and control over the services they receive.
The NDIS is strengthening our economy and guaranteeing essential services by creating tens of thousands of new jobs and boosting opportunities for businesses across the country.
The total NDIS workforce is expected to double to more than 160,000 jobs by 2020, which means there will be employment and business opportunities to support people with disability in the Parkes electorate.