Minister for Youth, Richard Colbeck has visited the bushfire zones on the New South Wales South Coast, to speak directly to those affected.
“Having talked to people across the country since becoming the Minister for Youth, I hear regularly about the challenges our young Australians are facing,” said Minister Colbeck.
“Challenges such as mental health and access to employment, education and transport have been regularly raised with me and the Youth Taskforce.
“Supporting the long-term mental health of young people living in the hardest hit bushfire affected regions will become a key focus as communities begin the process of recovery.”
The Morrison Government announced they will provide $8 million to extend Beyond Blue’s “Be You” mental health education program for schools and early learning services across bushfire zones.
“We know that the mental health of young people who have lived through these tragic bushfires, will be something that is very vulnerable over the immediate and ongoing future,” explained Minister Colbeck.
Stakeholders at mental health support service, headspace at Bega mentioned that “compassion fatigue” was already taking a toll on local professionals.
However, it was the long term support that remains the most daunting challenge, as young people head back to school.
“Up to $300,000 will be provided to headspaces located in Bairnsdale, Albury-Wodonga, Gosford, Penrith, Bega, Nowra, Queanbeyan, Lithgow, Victor Harbor and Mount Barker.”
The Government is also providing $4.4 million to fast-track the establishment of a new headspace service in Batemans Bay and upgrade the service to a full centre – it is expected to open in late 2020.
“I will continue to talk to young people and listen to the challenges they are facing, and the Coalition Government will always continue to provide support to young people to ensure they have every opportunity,” said Minister Colbeck.