Out­reach out­rage

Benalla Ensign - - Victorian State Election 2018 -

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.’’

Ivan Lis­ter

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