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Social isolation project to benefit veterans and older Queenslanders.



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The Hon. Danna Vale MP Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Media Release

Embargoed until 0001 hrs Thursday 19 June 2003 VA062

SOCIAL ISOLATION PROJECT TO BENEFIT VETERANS AND OLDER QUEENSLANDERS

A forum in the outback town of Longreach today marks the beginning of a major round of community consultation in a joint project by the Federal and Queensland governments to address the risks of social isolation facing veterans and older Australians.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Danna Vale, and the Federal Member for Maranoa, Bruce Scott, today announced the Federal Government had provided $100,000 for the Queensland Social Isolation Project.

“Social isolation is recognised as a significant risk facing veterans - and indeed all Australians - as they grow older,” Mrs Vale said.

“Illness or limited mobility can easily lead to older members of any community becoming cut off from the social contact that is an essential part of any person’s health and well-being.

“By supporting this project, the Federal Coalition Government aims to reduce social isolation among veterans by putting them in touch with services and support in their local communities.”

The Minister said the project team would draw on the experiences of different communities to produce a manual which will outline a range of projects that can be used to provide support and end the risk of social isolation.

Mr Scott said the initiative would provide vital social support to veterans and older Australians.

"This forum will allow families, doctors and community groups to network the best means of preventing isolation in rural and regional Australia," Mr Scott said.

"Regardless of where senior Australians live, they need to know they are not alone.

"This Federal Coalition Government recognises the need to continue providing support to those Australians who defended their nation's sovereignty and laid the foundations of many thriving rural towns.”

Further forums are being planned in Brisbane, Logan/Beaudesert, Childers, Mackay, Cairns, Townsville and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Media Contact: Sonia Mills 02 6277 4949 or 0427 743 126