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$50,000 for Balmoral Bush Nursing service drought project.

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Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, today announced $51,000 for the Balmoral Bush Nursing Service through the Australian Government’s Strengthening Drought Affected Communities - Local Answers.

The funding will enable the Bush Nursing Centre to provide local support options for families and individuals experiencing hardship due to drought conditions.

“I congratulate the Balmoral Bush Nursing Service on their initiative in applying for this grant and their commitment to the local community,” Mr Hawker said.

“The project will employ a project worker and provide a one-stop shop for access to services and health support to improve the mental and physical health of drought affected families.

“Volunteers and health professionals will assist families and individuals in the region to access referral services, financial counselling, farm management, family counselling and child assistance.”

Centre Manager Lisa Hutchins said the funding would enable the Bush Nursing Centre to provide additional support and referral advocacy, recognizing that community members often felt more comfortable seeking supported assistance locally.

“There are a number of drought support options now available. We believe our success with this application affirms the Commonwealths acknowledgement of the critical role that health services play in the successful implementation of drought support initiatives in our area,” she said.

“The essence of this project is to ensure people living in our rural remote community are able to access the help they need, when they need it. As a small, not -for -profit health service, this grant will go a long way towards helping us achieve this and in turn strengthen the sustainability of our community.”

Mr Hawker said that funding through the programme is provided for projects in drought-affected areas declared to be under exceptional circumstances, or areas demonstrating significant hardship as a result of the drought.

“Local Answers supports small scale, locally developed projects, which help communities to identify opportunities to develop new skills, support children and their families and foster proactive and self-reliant communities,” he said.

The Australian Government has committed $137 million over five years from 2004 to 2009 under the Local Answers initiative, part of the $500 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy.

For further information on the Australian Government’s Stronger Families and Communities Strategy visit Future Local Answers funding rounds will be advertised on the website and in the press. - ENDS -

Media Contact: Jane Templeton 0408 564 232