Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New support for young people and their families

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today visited Mornington Island to announce a range of new initiatives to help support young Aboriginal people and their families.

The new initiatives include:

  • $1 million to fund a new Family Mental Health Support Service that will support the Lower Gulf communities of Normanton, Mornington Island and Doomadgee.This service will help children and young people who show early signs of, or are at risk of, developing mental illness, as well as supporting their families. Young people will receive practical assistance to help them cope with the stresses in their lives such as bullying and peer pressure.
  • $2 million to ensure local residents in Aurukun, Mornington Island and Doomadgee who have a mental illness will continue to have access to intensive, one-on-one support through the Personal Helpers and Mentors program.
  • More than $343,000 for the Parents Supporting Learning initiative, a multi-agency collaboration between the Australian and Queensland Governments that will provide community and school based case management teams to support students and their families to stay engaged in school and learning; and
  • $20,000 for the Mornington Island Local Language Readers Project, to develop reading materials in local languages, in partnership between Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation and the school.

Ms Macklin said the Australian Government was delivering these important services to help boost local support services, especially for people with mental illness and their families.

“We are investing $3 million to ensure that locals with mental illness, especially young people, get all the care and support they need to live happy, fulfilling lives,” Ms Macklin said.

“With the right support services and care we can help people with mental illness to build their confidence and increase their connections within the community, helping to overcome social isolation which can be so debilitating.”

Ms Macklin said working in partnership with the school and local parents was essential to changing perceptions about schooling, building understanding of the importance of a good education, and increasing enthusiasm to encourage children to attend school every day.

“Getting a good education gives you the best possible change to get a job and I want to see all local kids have that opportunity,” Ms Macklin said.