MEMBER for Bathurst Electorate Paul Toole has welcomed a funding increase for Lifeline Central West problem gambling counselling services under the NSW Government’s Responsible Gambling Fund.
Mr Toole said Lifeline Central West has been allocated $386,203 for 2012-13.
Mr Toole said the NSW government has committed record funding of $10.6 million to the state’s network of 46 problem gambling counselling and support services for the coming financial year, including a welcome increase for Lifeline Central West, to help meet rising operational costs.
“Gambling Help services such as those offered by Lifeline Central West operate at more than 200 locations across the state providing free, confidential and effective counselling and support to problem gamblers and their families.
“In 2010-11, NSW’s network of problem gambling counselling services provided a total of 19,819 counselling sessions to 4237 clients.
“The high quality face-to-face services on offer range from gambling counselling, financial counselling and support including for specific groups such as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, youth and women.
“These counselling services operate on the frontline in often difficult circumstances providing invaluable support for communities across metropolitan, regional and rural NSW, including Lifeline Central West.
“I encourage Bathurst electorate residents who are battling with a gambling problem to contact Lifeline Central West on 6332 3456 and seek assistance for the sake of themselves, their families and loved ones.”
As well as face-to-face counselling, the NSW government’s Responsible Gambling Fund also supports a free 24-hour Gambling Help line (1800 858 858) which assisted 6700 callers in 2010-11 including problem gamblers or family members.
Further assistance is also offered through the national Gambling Help Online service at www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au which provided 1491 live online counselling sessions in 2010-11, including 586 in NSW, as well as further information support via email interactions.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing George Souris said the state’s Gambling Help services include a state wide Multicultural Problem Gambling Service plus five culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD)-specific counselling services for the Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Greek and Italian speaking communities.
“As well as the counselling services there is a state-wide training service which provides a range of problem gambling counselling related training courses to Gambling Help counsellors across NSW, provides financial assistance to enable regional and rural counsellors to attend relevant training courses if they are not available in their area, and conducts an annual NSW Problem Gambling Counsellors’ Conference,” Mr Souris said.
“There is also a state-wide legal service, provided by Wesley Community Legal Service in Sydney, which provides free legal advice and representation to problem gamblers and their families across NSW, and free legal advice and training to RGF-funded counselling services.”
For information on problem gambling support services visit www.gamblinghelp.
nsw.gov.au or phone 1800 858 858.