Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting people with mental illness in Bundaberg

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator John Hogg
    Senator for Queensland

The Gillard Government will provide Bundaberg Skills Centre with an additional $70,000 to assist in the establishment of its new specialist Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) employment services.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and Queensland Senator John Hogg said the Bundaberg Skills Centre was currently delivering services from temporary premises as a result of recent flooding in the region.

“The Bundaberg Skills Centre plays an important role in the community, helping to deliver much needed training and employment services to people who need it the most,” Ms Macklin said.

“This new funding will help make sure all necessary arrangements can be completed so that Bundaberg Skills Centre can again support local people with mental illness from its own premises.

“Importantly, Bundaberg Skills Centre is engaging job-seeking program participants to assist with repair work, which could lead to further employment opportunities, build self-esteem and assist them to realise some of their personal goals.

Senator Hogg said that the Government recently invested more than $1.8 million over three years to the Bundaberg Skills Centre to expand its Bundaberg PHaMs service, which is delivering much needed mental health support for people in the community.

“This investment will include an extra two personal helpers and mentors employed, who are expected to support an additional 40 people living in the region,” Senator Hogg said.

“The new workers will focus specifically on helping people with mental illness to achieve their employment goals.”

The additional funding for the Bundaberg service is part of a $154 million boost in community mental health support services for Australians with severe mental illness.

“This additional investment over five years will deliver 425 extra personal helpers and mentors who will work one-on-one with people with mental illness across Australia,” Ms Macklin said.

“This means an additional 3,400 people with severe mental illness will receive the personal help and mentoring they need to reconnect to health care, the workforce and their communities.

“Already, PHaMs services have received funding for more than 330 of the new personal helpers and mentors. Over 150 of the new personal helpers and mentors will be working with people with mental illness on the Disability Support Pension and other payments, to help them find and keep a job.”

Today’s announcement builds on the range of investments already delivered by the Gillard Government through our historic $2.2 billion national investment in mental health reform, including the 175 PHaMs services currently operating across the country.