Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Wheatbelt focus on men's health

    22/09/2005 12:00 AM

    Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today gave men's health top billing at the Merredin Research Centre Field Day by announcing increased funding for the health initiative in the Wheatbelt.

    Mr Chance said the Department of Agriculture’s 92nd annual Merredin field day provided a great opportunity to highlight the importance of men’s health and the regional services available.

    “The State Government has provided a four-year funding commitment of $480,000 through the State Budget to continue the Wheatbelt Men's Health Program to 2009,” the Minister said.

    ”The main focus of this health initiative is to take the important message about men’s health and wellbeing to men and their partners where they meet, including agricultural field days.

    "The Government’s funding will ensure that men's health activities will be conducted across the State's Wheatbelt and allow the program to be expanded to other agricultural regions.

    “The Gallop Government is ensuring regional Western Australia receives its fair share.”

    Mr Chance said the Wheatbelt Men's Health Inc would continue to develop and deliver the men's health and suicide prevention programs.

    ”The men’s health program looks to strengthen social networks in communities to help them respond to people’s needs at crucial times,” he said.

    “This will enhance the health and wellbeing of men and their families.

    “One of the best known strategies for assisting men and their families has been the use of the simple slogan ‘before it gets too much - talk to a mate’ and to provide the contact for local counselling services.”

    Mr Chance said over the next four years, the program would arrange men’s health and well-being forums, co-ordinate professional development sessions for GPs on men’s health issues and provide support at farmer-based events such as crop and sheep updates throughout the region.

    The Merredin Research Centre Field Day also provided the opportunity for growers to discuss the Department of Agriculture’s key cropping and livestock research trials.

    This year, the department is conducting 56 trials on the Merredin Research Station and a further 27 on private farming properties throughout the eastern Wheatbelt.

    The Minister said the support and assistance from farmers participating in trials was highly valued and enabled greater scope and depth to the department’s research programs.

    At the field day, Mr Chance also launched the Grains Industry Biosecurity Plan.

    The plan has been developed over three years by Plant Health Australia, Grains Council of Australia, the Grains Research Development Corporation, State grains groups including WAFarmers and State and Federal Governments.

    The plan sets in place processes for identifying pests and also includes emergency and contingency plans for dealing with problems.

    Minister's office: 9213 6700