The Nationals are accusing the State Labor Government of ignoring pleas from the Benalla community to provide funding for local Rural Outreach Worker Ivan Lister.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has criticised Minister Martin Foley’s failure to provide financial support for Ivan Lister, a local mental health practitioner who works selflessly to support the local community.
‘‘Ivan is an extraordinary individual who has been credited with saving the lives of many farmers during the decade-long drought our region experienced,” Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Our region is on the brink of drought and farmers across the region are telling me they need more support.
‘‘No-one is looking for a hand out, but they do need to know that there’s someone who they can talk to and who understands what they’re going through.
‘‘Ivan’s work is highly valued by our local community and he has dedicated many years to assisting locals facing an array of issues, including the repercussions of floods, droughts and fires.
‘‘This lack of funding has meant that Ivan has had to restrict his work to one specific region, which in turn has created a loss for residents in other towns who may require his services.
‘‘Access to mental health services for regional Victorians has improved, but is far from perfect and that’s why it’s critical that support is readily available.
‘‘I am extremely disappointed by the Minister’s response and his refusal to fund Ivan’s work.’’
Ms Ryan said she had made numerous requests to the Minister and sent him letters of support from across the community for Mr Lister’s work.
‘‘Despite receiving multiple letters of support from members across the community, the Andrews Government has refused to provide funding so Ivan can continue his work,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Once again, the Daniel Andrews’ city-centric government has failed to recognise the needs of people living outside of Melbourne.’’