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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2223


Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (09:30): Today I rise in this House to acknowledge the 50 years of Lifeline's contribution to Australia and especially to Queensland, my state. In Queensland, Lifeline services are operated by UnitingCare Community. Lifeline is dedicated to providing crisis support services, suicide prevention and mental health support for Australians. The key service streams include individual and community support for children, families and older persons as well as disability services and child care. This week in the parliament we were asked to wear our Lifeline badges. For those in Australia who may not have seen the Lifeline badge, it is a round badge with a series of dots on it. I believe there would be half a generation of Australians who do not understand what the dots symbolise. Back before the iPhone and before mobile phones, when we used landlines, you would speak into the mouthpiece of the phone, which is what the dots on Lifeline's badge symbolise. Lifeline's catchcry was: if life's problems are getting you down, pick up the phone and call Lifeline.

Lifeline services available in Queensland today include their crisis line, which is 131114—possibly the most symbolic of all of the programs that Lifeline runs; it is what they are known for. Lifeline also runs suicide bereavement and prevention support for individuals and groups and a disaster recovery program, which my very community has taken advantage of in the last couple of years as our electorate of Wright has been devastated and inundated with floodwaters. Lifeline offers accredited and non-accredited training direct to the public and the industry sector. UnitingCare Community is aided by over 2,600 staff and 5,600 volunteers who help and support 300 different community service programs. That is an incredible volunteer effort. In Queensland we have 130 Lifeline shops across metropolitan and rural areas, and we have 10 Lifeline centres across the state.

I take the opportunity, in closing, to advise all of my colleagues that in the parliament here we have a Parliamentary Friends of Lifeline group, and I encourage each of you to take up the challenge of being part of the Lifeline family. As a way to understanding Lifeline far better, if you are part of the community and you would like to get involved in Lifeline, there are a number of areas you can get involved in from a volunteer perspective, whether it be in their shops or in their phone counselling. Or, if you would like to get some training and some upskilling, reach out to your local Lifeline centre. Once again, I congratulate them on their 50 years. Keep up the great work, Lifeline. You are doing a great job. Australia would be a worse place without you.