WHO GOT THE RIBBONS — ROYAL HOBART SHOW
TASMANIAN wellbeing and suicide prevention organisation, Rural Alive and Well, says its overall funding will be down $350,000 with a cut in federal funding.
Speaking at its annual fundraising function at the Royal Hobart Show, RAW’s chief executive Liz Little said because of commonwealth and state funding decisions, the organisation is left still fighting for funds to service a growing need in the rural sector.
In 2015 RAW had 12 outreach workers to cover the state. Now it has less than nine.
RAW had been facing the need to make bigger cuts next year with the foreshadowed complete withdrawal of federal funds. However, funding has been extended until June 2019.
“At this least gives us some certainty for the future, but overall we still need to find $350,000 to cover reduced funding,” Ms Little said.
RAW’s program is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a phone hotline and a crisis call-out service.
RAW receives $742,000 from the State Government for outreach services. Another 30 per cent of its funding comes from Primary Health Tasmania while private donations of $409,000 fund its program for healthy and resilient communities.
Tasmanian senator Jonathon Duniam said that over the next 20 months, Primary Health Tasmania would work closely with RAW to prepare and plan for the 2019 tender process.
“They will make full use of the expertise they have in suicide prevention services and further integrating current service delivery across the state,” Senator Duniam said.
Tasmania is the only Australian state with a rising suicide rate. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that over the decade to 2016 its suicide rate rose from 13.5 per 100,000 to 17.0. The national average suicide rate is 11.7.
Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive Sue Murray, who was guest speaker at RAW’s fundraiser, said people who were in isolation were most at risk.
Tasmania was announced as one of the 12 national suicide prevention test sites. Tasmania will be the only site in Australia to focus on suicide among older Australians, focusing on women over 65.