Lifeline Telephone Counselling Line Funding
Mr ANDREW STONER: I direct my question to the Minister for Health. With the latest figures indicating that 35 suicides have occurred in country New South Wales over the past 12 months, why will the Minister not follow the Victorian Government's lead and provide funding to Lifeline's telephone counselling line, particularly given that his department actively refers people to the service?
Mr MORRIS IEMMA: The New South Wales Government has a non-government organisation grant program involving in excess of $89 million. The bulk of those non-government organisation grants go to three areas: Aboriginal health services, drug and alcohol services and mental health services. The issues to which the honourable member referred and which are of particular concern to Lifeline are more than adequately covered by that grant program, which deals with support for people with a mental illness, who are the most vulnerable in our community. This Government's mental health budget is more than $700 million. Dozens of non-government organisations are assisted through this program, which, as I said, has a budget of more than $89 million and which supports dozens of non-government organisations that provide drug and alcohol and mental health services to the most vulnerable in our community, including Aboriginals. This is a comprehensive non-government organisation grant program.