Tasmanian Country - - FRONT PAGE - For sup­port, con­tact Life­line 13 11 14; Sui­cide Call Back Ser­vice, 1300 659 467; or be­yondl­blue 1300 224 636. ROGER HAN­SON

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.

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