Nationals Senator, Bridget McKenzie, and Nationals state candidate for Lowan, Emma Kealy, today welcomed news that the National Centre for Farmer Health in south-west Victoria is making a significant contribution to improving farmer health.
It follows the recent announcement of $625,000 in federal and state Coalition government funding to allow the centre to continue its good work – $375,000 from the Commonwealth and $250,000 from the Victorian government.
The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) is an innovative program aimed at preventing Australian farmers from being injured or dying at work. It is a partnership between the Western District Health Service and Deakin University based in Hamilton.
“The Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, told the senate today the funding is enabling the centre to continue the delivery of effective programs, such as its award-winning Sustainable Farm Families Program. This program promotes improved mental health and health outcomes for farm families who don't usually seek help or information from professionals,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The NCFH also focuses on professional training and education, Agrisafe clinics, applied research and development, and web-based information and services.”
Nationals candidate for Lowan, Emma Kealy, added: “It was great to hear the centre is gaining recognition worldwide with over 309,000 page views from over 82,000 unique visitors overseas. Its web service has attracted an impressive 48,000 visitors in Australia since it went live in 2010.
“As well, the centre's provided over 2000 DVDs to rural communities as part of its beyondblue research study of reducing psychological stress in farming environments.”
Senator McKenzie said the centre's partnership with Deakin University's School of Medicine, in specialising in agricultural health and medicine, was another success story. Recent analysis shows over 80 per cent of past students now work in the regions.
“We know that people living in the regions experience higher rates of death, morbidity and chronic disease than those living in cities. The National Centre for Farmer Health is playing a significant part in helping to address this,” she said.
Ms Kealy added: “It is pleasing the federal and Victorian Coalition governments recognise this and provided the centre with funding.
“This is thanks to the lobbying efforts by the hardworking Nationals state Member for Lowan, Hugh Delahunty, who worked closely with Liberal Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan, the NCFH, the Western District Health Service, and the Victorian and National Farmers' Federations.
“It is just disappointing that the needs of the centre and the farming communities it serves were ignored for so long by the previous Labor government.”