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05 Oct 2017


“Rural Alive and Well (RAW) is too important to risk and deserves funding certainty,” says Brian Mitchell MP the federal Labor Member for Lyons.

RAW is based in Oatlands, in Brian Mitchell’s electorate. It is a service that has, till now, enjoyed bipartisan support.

“The federal Liberal government is now planning major funding cuts, which will result in job losses and withdrawal of suicide prevention outreach services across regional Tasmania,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Regional Tasmanians cannot afford to lose the services that RAW provides. Tasmania’s Liberal Senators must join my call to save RAW from these unwarranted cuts. I have written to the health minister, demanding answers.”

Mr Mitchell said the Turnbull government appeared to be heading down the same disastrous path that led to the withdrawal of funding for regional preventative health programs across Tasmania late last year.

“I would have thought the government would have learned from that shambles but it seems determined to inflict more pain on regional Tasmanians.”

Mr Mitchell said the uncertainty facing RAW was indicative of the stress many in regional communities feel.

“The dedicated outreach workers at RAW are offering counselling to people when their own livelihoods and financial security is under a cloud – I can only imagine the stress they must be facing, to not know how long they will have jobs for.

“Suicide in Tasmania is on the rise and we need more services like RAW, not fewer. Farmers are unlikely to make an appointment to see a counsellor in town but they might open up to someone over a cup of tea in their own home.

“RAW enjoys broad community and cross-party political support in Tasmania – it is time the Turnbull government listened to Tasmanians and stopped its plans to cut this vital service.”

ENDS | 4 October 2017


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