Tue, Jun 11, 6:57am by Kevin Pitstock
On June 10th, the federal government of Australia announced additional funding of of $22 million for financial counselling services across Australia. The increased funds are going to help pay for 50 specialist counsellors, along with other resources to help treat finance-based problems like gambling addiction.
The new staff are expected to take up responsibilities in the central and far western regions of Australia, where the country portions of South Wales receive even less assistance than those in the cities. At present, New South Wales has only 5 financial counsellors offering help to those dealing with gambling addiction.
The funding should provide upgrades not just in the quantity of advisors, but also the quality of their financial advice and counselling. While new gambling counsellors would be hired, those already on the payroll will be trained to treat problem gamblers.
CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes is one of the organizations which will be assisted by the new government funds. CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes, the official welfare service of the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Wilcannia (and 52% of New South Wales), will receive one additional counsellor for the area covering the Bogan Shire, Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Dubbo, and Walgett.
The understaff organizations receiving the assistance are thankful for the boost. CentaCare spokeswoman Sandy Sallmayer said, “This additional funding will allow our team to undergo specialised training in the problem gambling area and aim that service at identifying the needs and improving outcomes for the clients who are affected by problem gambling.”
The representative noted the plight of those fighting gambling addiction in rural communities. Due to the depressed nature of many of the outlying towns and settlements, having an additional financial burden caused by gambling addiction often brings misery to a household.
Sandy Sallmayer said the new funds are much needed and should help their efforts in bringing modern financial advice to those affected in the rural areas of the country. Sallmayer said, “In Centacare Wilcannia Forbes’ experience of delivering programs across rural and remote communities, we’ve often found ourselves supporting clients through issues related to problem gambling such as financial hardship, strained family relationships, mental health issues, domestic violence, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.”
The federal government deserves praise for providing additional support for this growing problem. While the various Australian Commonwealth and state governments should enact laws to protect its citizens from the ravages of gambling addiction, limiting TV ads and removing ATM machines from venues is only part of the solution. Teaching people the skills and techniques they need to avoid problem gambling remains the quickest way to eliminate one of Australia’s social ills.
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