Gambling help services for Aboriginal communities in regional Victoria have been boosted with new services being launched today in the Loddon Mallee, Goulburn Valley and Gippsland regions.
The new services mean funding for culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal communities by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has doubled to almost $1 million.
Foundation chief executive officer Serge Sardo says the new services will build on the strength of existing services.
"Victoria’s Aboriginal communities have been well served by the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) who provide financial and therapeutic counselling directly to Aboriginal clients and Victoria Aboriginal Community Services Association (VACSAL) who provide community education in Aboriginal communities and support our Gambler’s Help agencies to work effectively with Aboriginal communities.
"The work of these services will now be extended and supported by three local organisations who will provide services in three key regions," he said.
The Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O’Donohue announced the new services at Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative in Shepparton this morning.
"Providing culturally appropriate services is a very important consideration when providing help to communities where cultural barriers can be an obstacle to people reaching out for help.
"I am pleased to see the Foundation is continuing to build a service network to effectively target vulnerable communities, to make sure that anyone who needs help can get it," he said.
The three organisations to receive $150-thousand in funding to provide the new services include:
- Mallee District Aboriginal Services in Loddon Mallee
- Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative in Goulburn Valley
- Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative in Gippsland
The new agencies will focus on their regions with the help of Gambler's Help services who will continue to provide culturally appropriate support to Victorian communities across the state.
Mr Sardo says the new services are part of the Foundation’s response to a 2013 review of gambling help services which identified the need to provide a range of support options that are culturally appropriate and widely accessible.
"The new services are a welcome addition to our range of help services and are designed to ensure that just as there are many ways to gamble, there are many ways to get help," he said.
For more information about gambling support services visit www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au