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Turnbull must save Breastfeeding Helpline



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CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

TURNBULL MUST SAVE BREASTFEEDING HELPLINE

The Turnbull Government must immediately guarantee funding for the Breastfeeding Helpline, which may be forced to shut, due to the government’s refusal to guarantee funding beyond June 30.

National Breastfeeding Helpline is run by the Australian Breastfeeding Association and staffed seven days a week by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes.

The service is available free to all callers with more than 400 breastfeeding volunteer counsellors answering up to 6,000 calls every month.

I know first hand how essential the Breastfeeding helpline is.

As a new mum seven years ago I rang the helpline and the advice I received from those wonderful people on the end of the line was invaluable.

This service helps over 80 thousand women like me every year and I cannot believe this government would put this at risk.

However this service is now at risk because of the chaos surrounding the Turnbull Government’s $800 million cuts to the Heath Flexible funds, which fund hundreds of organisations such as this.

After being given an emergency rollover of $1 million last year to enable the service to continue for a further 12 months, the Breastfeeding Helpline is now about to run out of funds, with the Department of Health unable to guarantee further funding.

The Breastfeeding Helpline is an invaluable service for tens of thousands of Australian mums, run at extremely modest cost to taxpayers due to the fantastic work of hundreds of volunteer counsellors.

The government must immediately guarantee long term funding to tom provide certainty for this vital service for Australian mums.

SATURDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2016