Emergency Personnel Funding Restored After Labor Backflip

Sunshine Coast MP Andrew Wallace welcomes today’s confirmation that the Federal Labor Government has reconsidered its position and have now decided to provide full funding to charity organisation Fortem Australia, which provides mental health and wellbeing services to Australia’s first responders.

This will allow Fortem Australia to continue their program to assist more emergency personnel at a time when we continue to experience devastating floods and as we approach the annual fire season.

An expansion of programs will also help provide services to regional areas including Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Ballina, Albury-Wodonga, Gippsland, Dubbo, Nowra, Newcastle, Darwin, Launceston, and Perth.

“Fortem Australia is a charity organization, which provides mental health care to our first responders,” Mr Wallace said.

“We rightly honour our veterans in the military on days like today – Remembrance Day and we should do that every day. But we really don’t honour our men and women in uniform, our police, our fire services, our paramedics, and SES.

“We need to do so much better for these men and women that put themselves in harm’s way. And we know that many of these men and women struggle, particularly with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“They run toward incidents that most of us would run away from. And the Labor Federal Government had stripped away $7.5 million from front-line personnel who are out there providing emergency support to their communities during a disaster.”

The Coalition budgeted funding of $10 million over two years to Fortem Australia back in March after recognising a critical need.

Today’s decision will undoubtedly be a welcome relief for our first responders in important regional locations.

Fortem programs give first responders the tools they need to be healthier, more resilient, and better equipped to cope with the challenges that come with working in natural disaster zones, and with the difficulties experienced by other emergencies like traffic accidents and domestic  violence scenes.

“Due to the hard work of Coalition members and also the media, we have shamed Anthony Albanese into restoring that $7.5 million,” Mr Wallace said.

“I’m very pleased that the Prime Minister has stood up and restored that funding, as well he should. And I want to encourage him to provide ongoing funding to such a terrific charity that provides mental health care for our first responders.

“The Coalition will always back in our first responders, who perform a vital role in the
community, supporting vulnerable people in urgent need.”