Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has today launched his policy initiative to double Government funding for Lifeline Gippsland. “I believe we need to acknowledge the tremendous work of everyone who is involved in supporting Lifeline’s 24-hour, 7 day a week Telephone Crisis Support line, and I therefore propose that Government funding be increased to $270 000 from the current $135,000”, Mr Northe said.
“Given the important role that Lifeline and its Crisis support team undertakes, this is an incredibly small amount of money given lives are literally saved every single day. This vital service enables the Australian community to connect to professionally trained crisis supporters around the clock – often in dire times, and needing tremendous support”.
Around the country, someone calls Lifeline every 32 seconds and more than 40% of these callers live in rural or remote areas (Lifeline Australia statistics). Lifeline Gippsland work tirelessly to raise the funds necessary in delivering this crucial phone service. Their hardworking band of volunteers donate their time in fundraising through several Op-Shops across Gippsland, selling bulk rags, running Book Fairs and Plant Sales. These fundraising activities are very successful, but they require a huge amount of work.
“Only a small portion (approximately 12%) of Lifeline Gippsland’s funding which is used to support the 13 11 14 crisis line, comes from the Victorian State Government”, Mr. Northe said. “Given the invaluable service provided, and the huge amount of work involved in raising the remaining 88% of funds by Lifeline’s army of volunteers, I firmly believe the Governments financial contribution should be much more – and so do the concerned community members I meet with. In fact, many people I speak with believed that the entire service was funded by Government, but the reality is Lifeline Gippsland only receives $135,000 from the State Government at present!” said Mr Northe.
“By increasing Lifeline Gippsland’s funding to $270,000 per annum, this would enable the amazing staff and volunteers at Lifeline to provide additional training to increase the number of Crisis Supporters who respond to 13 14 11 calls; fund the Connect Call Back Service, which provides ongoing phone support from trained Crisis Support Workers to people living in Gippsland facing a crisis and implement face to face peer support groups for our most vulnerable people” Mr Northe said.
“In regards to face to face peer support, it’s imperative that we encourage men to engage in supportive conversations when they are feeling low. Given my own personal challenges that have been well documented, I have subsequently been contacted by a number of local men who have found themselves in a position where they have become depressed due to circumstances in their lives” Mr Northe said.
I propose the implementation of regular support group, which would provide an opportunity for a walk, a talk, a coffee – and an opportunity to share their experiences. Unfortunately many men find it difficult to talk about their problems, and this support group would help to facilitate a conversation whilst undertaking some exercise, which is so important for those who are feeling down. This initiative is all about getting men to open up about their problems, and link them into services that would assist their specific issue or issues.
“Lifeline is a leader in Gippsland for the organisations suicide prevention and support of the community, at the most critical of times. They need more support for their vital services, and my commitment is to fight for more funding for their important work”, Mr. Northe said.
“The vision for Lifeline Gippsland is “An Australia Free of Suicide” (ref –). Let’s get them support, so they can set about achieving it” said Mr Northe.