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Recycling trailblazers recognised at inaugural Change Maker Awards7462Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml16/10/2021 4:34:17 AM2021-10-15T23:00:00Z Change Maker Awards recognise recycling leaders Businesses, community groups and schools all taking part in Containers for Change Recycling centre in Northam named the inaugural Change Maker of the Year Western Australians at the forefront of recycling efforts have been recognised at the inaugural Change Maker Awards. The awards, hosted by the State's container deposit scheme, Containers for Change, celebrate the achievements of refund point operators, community groups and schools. Containers for Change was launched by the McGowan Government in October 2020 to save recyclable materials from landfill, reduce litter, create employment opportunities, and enable a fundraising stream for charities, community groups and schools. There are now 253 container refund points throughout the State, operated by a range of businesses and social enterprises. The inaugural Change Maker Awards saw 34 finalists recognised across seven categories. The top achievement for the evening was the Change Maker of the Year Award, which recognised the refund point that best demonstrated excellence across safety outcomes, customer service, innovation, community engagement and local marketing. Six of the seven award recipients are based in regional WA, including Avonvalley Cash 4 Containers refund point in Northam which was named Change Maker of the Year. More information on the Change Maker of the Year and the full list of award recipients and finalists can be found at http//www.containersforchange.com.au/wa/change-maker-awards Comments attributed to Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson "Western Australians have embraced Containers for Change, returning hundreds of millions of 10c containers in the first year of operation. "I congratulate each of the 2021 Change Maker Award recipients, finalists and entrants for their passion and dedication to reducing recyclable materials going to landfill, providing employment opportunities and supporting their communities." Minister's office - 6552 5900 2021 Change Maker of the Year Award recipients Safety - City of Bunbury Refund Point, Bunbury Customer Focus - Avonvalley Cash 4 Containers, Northam Innovation - North West Recycling, Karratha Community Engagement - Good Sammy Enterprises Local Marketing Initiative - Care for Hedland Environmental Association Community Participant of the Year - Old Bastards Association, Carnarvon School of the Year - Borden Primary School, Borden Change Maker of the Year - Avonvalley Cash 4 Containers, Northam
Extra trading hours to encourage shopping locally this Christmas7461Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3780html15/10/2021 8:42:51 AM2021-10-15T08:00:00Z 44 extra Christmas shopping hours to boost retail sales Shop early and locally to avoid disappointment due to COVID-19 delivery delays Australia Day public holiday trading also extended by four hours The McGowan Government is encouraging WA consumers to shop early and locally this year, with 44 extra hours of trading for general retail shops in Perth approved for the Christmas and New Year period. Delivery delays due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions could increase the risk of Christmas gifts not arriving on time, so it is recommended shoppers look at either going into local bricks and mortar shops or, if ordering gifts online, give preference to WA traders. The extended trading hours for general retail shops in the Perth metropolitan area will begin on Sunday, December 5 2021. Sunday and public holiday trading has been extended an extra four hours a day, 8am to 6pm (normally 11am to 5pm), with an additional one hour on Saturdays, 8am to 6pm (normally 8am to 5pm). From Monday, December 13 to Christmas Eve inclusive, larger shops can choose to open one hour earlier from 7am until 9pm on weekdays (normally 8am to 9pm). Trading for the Australia Day public holiday on Wednesday, January 26 2022 will also be extended four hours, 8am to 6pm. Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson "The best way to ensure your Christmas gifts arrive on time this year is by shopping locally, so I would encourage consumers to support WA businesses. "Delivery delays have increased the risks of shopping online, especially if the online trader is based interstate or overseas. "Purchasing gifts from WA suppliers will be a better option to ensure your presents arrive on time and give our local businesses a boost. "The extended retail trading hours will expand consumer convenience and provide more opportunity for bricks and mortar stores to enjoy a financially rewarding Christmas shopping period." Minister's office - 6552 6832 Monday-Friday Saturday Sunday Public holidays* Normal 8am-9pm 8am-5pm 11am-5pm 11am-5pm *Excludes Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day when general retail shops remain closed ​ ​ ​ ​ Sunday, December 5 2021 8am-6pm Monday, December 6 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Tuesday, December 7 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Wednesday, December 8 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Thursday, December 9 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Friday, December 10 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Saturday, December 11 8am-6pm Sunday, December 12 8am-6pm Monday, December 13 7am-9pm Tuesday, December 14 7am-9pm Wednesday, December 15 7am-9pm Thursday, December 16 7am-9pm Friday, December 17 7am-9pm Saturday, December18 8am-6pm Sunday, December 19 8am-6pm Monday, December 20 7am-9pm Tuesday, December 21 7am-9pm Wednesday, December 22 7am-9pm Thursday, December 23 7am-9pm Friday, December 24 7am-9pm Saturday, December 25 CLOSED (Christmas Day) Sunday, December 26 8am-6pm (Boxing Day) Monday, December 27 8am-6pm (Christmas Day public holiday) Tuesday, December 28 8am-6pm (Boxing Day public holiday) Wednesday, December 29 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Thursday, December 30 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Friday, December 31 8am-9pm (Normal trading) Saturday, January 1 2022 8am-6pm (New Year's Day) Sunday, January 2 11am-5pm (Normal trading) Monday, January 3 8am-6pm (New Year's Day public holiday) Wednesday, January 26 2022 8am-6pm (Australia Day public holiday) (Extended hours in bold) ​
Geraldton Basketball Stadium election commitment in the basket7460Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3970html15/10/2021 7:34:42 AM2021-10-15T07:30:00Z McGowan Government delivers election commitment for major upgrades to Geraldton Basketball Stadium Local contractor appointed to carry out the works Upgrades will double the indoor court capacity from four to eight A $4.5 million upgrade to Geraldton Basketball Stadium is getting underway following the delivery of a McGowan Government election commitment towards the project. The major upgrade to the facility will include the construction of four new indoor courts for the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) and forms part of the McGowan Government's Plan for Geraldton. In a key milestone for the project, local company Geraldton Building Services and Cabinets has now been appointed to carry out the works. The project will be jointly funded by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries ($3.5 million), the GABA ($500,000) and the City of Geraldton ($550,000). The GABA currently has over 2,300 members and operates a high standard junior and senior competition as well as the Buccaneers State Basketball League team. The Aussie Hoops, Midnight Basketball Program for indigenous youth and the Wheelchair Competition also use the facility, providing benefits to the wider community. The expansion of Geraldton Basketball Stadium will enable growth of the sport in the Greater Geraldton region, doubling the number of indoor courts to eight. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "Investing in local sporting organisations like the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association is part of my Government's commitment to keep local communities healthy and strong. "The stadium will get a significant upgrade as a result of this funding injection, whichwill give the sport of basketball more capacity to grow in Geraldton." Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti "Providing better places for people to play sport and recreate helps keep Western Australians active, healthy and more connected with their communities. "There are no other large, indoor, covered court facilities in the City of Greater Geraldton or Mid-West. "Investing in this facility will not only allow for the growth of basketball in the region, but also create jobs and project work for local WA businesses." Comments attributed to Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton "As the local member for Geraldton I am thrilled to see that the McGowan Labor Government is investing in sports infrastructure that will benefit Geraldton for decades to come. "I want to extend congratulations to the GABA board and volunteers for their hard work and persistence in making this project a reality. "It's a great day for the GABA and it's a privilege to have been able to help along the way as the member for Geraldton." Premier's office - 6552 5000Sport and recreation Minister's office - 6552 6400
Easier than ever before for regional residents to roll up for WA7459Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements7420html15/10/2021 6:59:05 AM2021-10-15T06:30:00Z Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service and WA Country Health Service launch joint initiative to increase vaccine uptake in Geraldton 14 pop-up clinics for regional WA 63 per cent of those eligible in the Mid-West have had at least one COVID vaccine dose The State Government is making it easier than ever before for country communities to access a COVID-19 vaccine, with 14 new pop-up clinics in regional areas. Working with Commonwealth providers, industry and GPs, the State Government will run clinics in Geraldton, Fitzroy Crossing, Newman, Karratha and Broome, with Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Hedland, Halls Creek, Wyndham, Kununurra and more locations to come in weeks ahead. The Premier visited the Geraldton pop-up clinic today located at 60 Rifle Range Road, Geraldton. Operating in partnership with Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS), the clinic is open between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday until October 22, with no appointment necessary. The clinic opened this week and in the first two days more than 150 Geraldton locals took the opportunity to roll up their sleeves. GRAMS leads logistics at the clinic while WA Country Health Service (WACHS) provides immunisers and governance support. The new regional pop-up clinics are in addition to the WA Health-run COVID-19 vaccination clinics located across the State. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "More than 63 per cent of Mid-West residents have now received one dose of their COVID vaccine but there is more work to be done. "That's why we're working with our Commonwealth partners, colleagues across industry and GPs to make it easier than ever before for country residents to access a COVID-19 vaccine. "Here in Geraldton, I'd like to commend WACHS and GRAMS for working together to protect as many Mid-West residents as possible. "More regional pop-up clinics will be stood up in the coming weeks as we look to provide every opportunity for people living in regional WA to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their community. "Vaccination is safe, effective and the best protection we have against COVID-19." Comments attributed to Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton "It's wonderful to see GRAMS and WACHS partnering to deliver COVID vaccines to our community. "This is a great opportunity for locals to get vaccinated simply, easily and quickly. "I want to thank the McGowan Government for stepping up and doing more to roll out vaccinations in regional WA." Premier's office - 6552 5000 ​
State Recovery Controller for Wooroloo bushfire recognised7458Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5250html15/10/2021 5:01:38 AM2021-10-15T05:00:00Z Dr Ron Edwards completing his term as State Recovery Controller for the Wooroloo bushfire Dr Edwards helped oversee the $18.1 million Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding arrangements package With the major works of the residential clean-up of the Wooroloo fire zone now complete, and effective support programs and frameworks well established, Dr Edwards' term as State Recovery Controller will conclude today. Dr Edwards was appointed on February 5 2021 following the scale of the destruction of the Wooroloo bushfire, which caused extensive damage within the City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring. The complex demolition and waste removal stage of the Wooroloo Bushfire Coordinated Residential Clean-up Program, coordinated by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, was completed during Dr Edwards' term. This has paved the way for theat rebuild to begin. During his time as State Recovery Controller, Dr Edwards was responsible for establishing the State Recovery Coordination Group Partnership Forum, which brought key non-government stakeholders and community members into the recovery efforts. Dr Edwards was also instrumental in the early development of a Bushfire Prone Landscaping and Environmental Planning Forum held in July. This community forum brought together a range of subject matter experts to help community members better understand topics such as bushfire property standards and fire ecology. The State Recovery Controller's duties will conclude on October 15, 2021 and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services State Recovery Coordinator Graham Swift will manage the ongoing State-led recovery effort and provide continued support to the Shire of Mundaring and City of Swan. The Clean-up Program and Environmental Planning Forum were jointly funded through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and form part of a broader $18.1 million community recovery package. Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby "I thank Dr Edwards for taking on this challenging role for the past eight months and I am sure the community appreciates all that he has done to lead the recovery efforts. "His efforts have played a vital role in the Wooroloo bushfire recovery - Dr Edwards brought together not only the relevant State agencies but also stakeholders outside of government and local community members - ensuring all participants were engaged and involved in the process. "He has been a strong advocate for ensuring the community is kept well informed and that the mental health and social needs of residents are supported. He has also been a keen supporter of the management of animal welfare in emergencies." Minister's office - 6552 6300 ​
Technology boost drives jobs at Albany sandalwood factory7457Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6040html15/10/2021 3:30:36 AM2021-10-15T03:30:00Z McGowan Government support for sandalwood company creates local jobs in the Great Southern Value Add Investment Grants driving investment opportunities in regional WA A McGowan Government Value Add Investment Grant has delivered cutting-edge technology to provide tailored and higher quality sandalwood products for new global customers. Quintis Sandalwood received a $500,000 grant to upgrade its production line and install sophisticated machinery in the processing centre at Kununurra and the distillery at Albany - expected to create around 20 new permanent full-time jobs. The first stage of the work has been completed at Quintis Albany with the design, installation and commissioning of a continuous steam distillation (CSD) facility. The CSD will significantly increase the capacity and quality of the sandalwood oil produced and will reduce water and energy consumption by up to 75 per cent. The remaining part of the project is occurring in Kununurra with the installation of a splitter for de-sapping trees and colour sorting technology to accurately sort woodchips. The aim of the project is to turn raw sandalwood into a range of high-value and bespoke consumer products for global markets. This includes high-end wood pieces to China, India and Japan, and essential oils for aromatherapy, cosmetics and personal care products globally - opening up access to a multi-billion dollar market. The McGowan Government has awarded $10.2 million to 18 agrifood businesses in metropolitan and regional Western Australia this year through its Value Add Investment Grants to boost local food and beverage manufacturing. Businesses are required to match the grant funding dollar-for-dollar. For more information about the Value Add Investment Grant recipients visit http//www.agric.wa.gov.au/VAIGrants Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan "Quintis manages more than 5,000 hectares of Indian sandalwood plantations here in WA and through its operations in Kununurra and Albany has grown its workforce to become one of the biggest employers in both regions. "It is rewarding to see the investments this business is making with the support of a Value Add Investment Grant to build capacity, opportunity and regional jobs. "The expansion of processing capability is estimated to result in 20 new full time jobs, with potential for a further 72 indirect roles created by this project. "The McGowan Government's Value Add Investment Grants are a terrific initiative, expected to generate more than $132 million in private sector investment through business contributions, creating an estimated 600 new jobs across a range of industries including horticulture, seafood, beverages, meat and livestock and premium food products." Comments attributed to Forestry Minister Dave Kelly "Quintis are to be commended for their ongoing investment in local jobs and commitment to innovation and expanding what is one of the world's largest, sustainable sandalwood plantation estates, right here in Western Australia. "I'm really pleased to see how important programs like the McGowan Government Value Add Investment Grants, are enabling us to deliver on our commitment to help local businesses grow, create local jobs, and provide greater opportunities to access global export markets for WA industry." Minister's office - 6552 6200 ​
State Government releases response to Regional Roadworks Signage Review7456Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6300html15/10/2021 3:01:40 AM2021-10-15T03:00:00Z 13 recommendations identified to enhance safety through regional roadworks sites State Government commits to pursuing all 13 recommendations Main Roads to lead the implementation of the recommendations over coming months Review undertaken by reference group of industry stakeholders and included extensive community consultation The State Government has today accepted 13 recommendations identified by the Regional Roadworks Signage Review to increase safety in roadworks sites. Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has asked Main Roads to implement a number of these recommendations to enhance safety for both construction workers and road users. While several of the recommendations are complex and will take time to implement, a number can be actioned in the short term, including improving driver education and awareness; improvements to signage design to ensure they remain upright and visible; and reviewing tender documentation to ensure traffic management elements are afforded the priority and focus required to ensure safe practice.Main Roads have appointed a senior project manager to oversee the process and also established an Implementation Committee, who will be meeting fortnightly in the first instance, with the inaugural meeting held earlier this month. A formal implementation plan with delivery targets will be developed with key stakeholders by the end of the year. The comprehensive review was undertaken by an industry-based stakeholder reference group, with extensive community consultation that looked at how temporary traffic signage at roadworks sites is installed, secured and managed in regional areas. Main Roads has been working closely with the Traffic Management Association of Australia in recent months to help raise public awareness of incidents on roadworks sites with a new campaign to be launched soon to encourage drivers to 'Be Roadwork Aware, Slow Down and Take Care.' Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "I would like to again thank the stakeholder reference group and Chair Dennis O'Reilly who undertook this review. "The work undertaken by the reference group has helped focus attention on this key area of safety, so it is important we build on that momentum and continue to engage with industry and stakeholders to ensure safety at road construction sites. "We have accepted 13 recommendations from the review and I have requested Main Roads implement the short term and medium term recommendations." Minister's office - 6552 5500 The report and recommendations can be viewed here https//www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/regional-roadworks-signage-review
High demand expected for prime Oyster Harbour land release7455Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements4950html15/10/2021 2:10:35 AM2021-10-15T02:10:00Z Sales begin for new lots at Albany's Oyster Harbour residential estate Lot sizes 544sqm to 694sqm available in premium coastal development Homesites located just 10 minutes from Albany CBD, with views over Oyster Harbour, King River Local contractor Landchoice Civil and Survey has commenced ground breaking works Two new land releases at Albany's sought-after Oyster Harbour estate are being brought to market, with a total of 46 lots set to meet growing demand for residential land in the Great Southern city. Sales for new homesites in Stage 8a have started, with civil works now underway on 27 lots ranging in size from 544sqm to 694sqm. Prices for Stage 8a lots, which are ideal for families seeking space to grow, start from $165,000. Planning is also underway for the release of Stage 8b, which will offer a further 19 lots. The Oyster Harbour land releases follow significant uptake of the McGowan Government's $20,000 Building Bonus grant, with more than 500 applications received from the Great Southern. DevelopmentWA's Oyster Harbour estate is one of Albany's most sought-after residential addresses, located just 10 minutes from the city's central business district, and will ultimately provide up to 1,500 much needed residential home sites in Albany. When complete, Oyster Harbour will include more than 35 hectares of dedicated public space including landscaped parklands, playgrounds and boardwalks, and a foreshore reserve and conservation wetlands. A new primary school is planned and the amenity in the village centre should be realised within the next five years. In addition, DevelopmentWA is in the process of securing a contractor to start civil works at Clydesdale Park, another residential estate in Albany, which will yield approximately 30 additional home sites in the next stage. At nearby Middleton Beach, local contractor Nigel Palmer Earthmoving has recently been awarded a contract to provide remaining subdivision civil works and public infrastructure. The site will be home to six two-storey architecturally designed terrace houses called duettes. The duettes will be the first stage delivered on the project, set to provide a vibrant mix of village atmosphere and beach connectivity. For more information on the projects, visit https//developmentwa.com.au Comments attributed to Lands Minister Tony Buti "With residential land in such high demand around Albany, it is pleasing to see new lots at Oyster Harbour being brought to the market. "The McGowan Government has invested heavily in the growth and development of Albany, where the population continues to grow strongly. "This is a perfect opportunity for families to invest in their own piece of Albany, just 10 minutes from the city centre. "This release includes a wide range of lots that will suit all lifestyles and importantly, new public housing is a part of this development." Minister's office - 6552 6400 ​
AGWA’s new View to celebrate Western Australian art7454Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5960html15/10/2021 2:06:21 AM2021-10-15T02:05:00Z The View From Here - the Art Gallery's largest ever exhibition of Western Australian art announced today Supported by a new brand and marketing campaign featuring WA artists Transformation of AGWA close to completion with rooftop opening scheduled for early NovemberThe Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) today announced the upcoming The View From Here exhibition, supported by a new brand and marketing campaign to preview the transformation of the Gallery in early November. The transformation includes the biggest rooftop venue in Perth, new gallery spaces, and the largest art commission in the Gallery's history. The View From Here, a gallery-wide celebration of Western Australian art, will feature on outdoor, press, online and in social media to provide patrons with a glimpse of the new AGWA. The exhibition features more than 230 artists and 361 artworks - 111 of which have been commissioned for the transformation and reveal in early November. Artists featured in The View From Here include Sarah Bahbah, a Perth raised, Los Angeles-based artist of Palestinian/Jordanian heritage with more than one million Instagram followers; Tim Meakins, whose giant 3D-printed sculptures of weightlifters, posers and grinning weights offer a playful interpretation of modern fitness culture; Bruno Booth's 'Adidas'-wearing cats; Abdul Abdullah; Ngarralja Tommy May; Yok and Sheryo; Danielle Freakley; Tyrown Waigana; and Tarryn Gill. The exhibition and campaign announcement comes as a prelude to the opening of the new rooftop in early November and the reveal of AGWA's transformation, which includes a multitude of exciting new works and spaces. The new rooftop venue was a key 2017 election commitment and has been complemented by works on the foyer and galleries. Comments attributed to Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman "The View From Here promises to be a brilliant celebration of Western Australia's artistic community, and the accompanying campaign will whet the public's appetite in anticipation of the rooftop opening in early November. "The View From Here signals a whole new vision and direction that we strongly support. It will transform AGWA and add to our cultural tourism offerings. "The McGowan Government committed to the transformation of the rooftop in 2017 and it is exciting to see it come close to fruition." Minister's office - 6552 5400
$200 million Bunbury Regional Hospital redevelopment underway7453Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5030html15/10/2021 2:00:32 AM2021-10-15T02:00:00Z Tender awarded to add more than 200 additional car parks McGowan Government progresses key election commitment to meet increasing health needs of South West communities Once complete, the redevelopment is expected to include an expanded emergency department, increased operating theatre capacity, new clinical equipment and additional beds Bunbury Regional Hospital's $200 million redevelopment is officially underway with the car park works tender awarded to Western Australian construction company Devlyn Australia Pty Ltd. More than 200 additional car parking bays will be added to the hospital making it easier for patients and staff to access regional WA's busiest healthcare facility. This step forward marks the McGowan Government's commitment to improve health infrastructure, ensuring residents of the South West have access to a contemporary facility that meets their growing needs. In addition to the more than 200 parking bays, once complete the transformation project will bring An expanded emergency department Increased operating theatre capacity New clinical equipment New emergency access and mental health facilities Additional beds Western Australia's first regional training, education and research centre A boost to digital capability Car parks works are expected to be complete by the end of March 2022. The next steps of the multi-million-dollar redevelopment include the design of the main works. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The McGowan Government is progressing a key election commitment with Bunbury Regional Hospital's car park works tender being awarded. "I know the extra parking, when completed, will make a big difference in reducing the stress of people rushing for an appointment, or needing to access the Emergency Department. "The $200 million redevelopment of Bunbury Regional Hospital is the biggest undertaken in regional WA. The project will deliver a fit-for-purpose facility providing the entire South West community with care close to home that will meet the growing demand for years to come." Comments attributed to Member for Bunbury Don Punch "I am really pleased the physical works at the hospital are about to begin and I know the improvements will be highly valued by our community. "Car parking has been a serious issue at the hospital for some time, particularly for people experiencing mobility issues, so I am very pleased an additional 200 parking bays are being constructed in the first round of redevelopment works." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Radical innovations sought for child and youth mental health issues7452Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8530html15/10/2021 1:05:46 AM2021-10-15T01:05:00Z McGowan Government launches Innovation Challenge to improve mental health outcomes for Western Australia's children and young people Up to 10 innovators will be awarded up to $50,000 to undertake feasibility studies or build prototypes One of these will be selected winner and be awarded up to $1.5 million to develop and implement their solution in Western Australia Western Australian children and youth are set to benefit from a mental health innovation challenge launched by the McGowan Government during Mental Health Week. The inaugural Innovation Challenge 2021 Child and Youth Mental Health will see the brightest minds locally, nationally and internationally compete for up to $1.5 million to develop and implement an innovative solution to address a significant child and youth mental health issue in WA. The Challenge aligns with this year's WA Mental Health Week theme 'Mental health starts with children'. Early childhood is a critical time for brain development and functioning. Childhood experiences build the foundations of life-long resilience, social and emotional wellbeing, and self-esteem. These are key for children to develop into compassionate, confident people. The need for this initiative was identified by the Western Australian Future Health Research and Innovation Fund Advisory Council, which was established in 2020. The Fund provides a secure source of funding to drive health and medical research and innovation and improve the lives of Western Australians. In the first stage, up to 10 applicants will be awarded up to $50,000 to undertake feasibility studies and/or build prototypes, with the winning innovation receiving up to $1.5 million to develop and implement their solution. The Future Health Research and Innovation Fund continues to deliver on the McGowan Government election commitment to grow local jobs, retain WA's brightest health and medical researchers and innovators, and attract to the State more leading research projects and partnerships from around the world. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "I am delighted to see the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund deliver a program that, in itself, is innovative. "Innovation is essential to improving health promotion, treatment and care. "The McGowan Government's investment in the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund is already building a legacy for future generations, while improving health outcomes, and delivering new jobs and economic opportunities for Western Australians. "I look forward to seeing solutions that are both transformative and disruptive to address areas of concern for the Western Australian community in the area of child and youth mental health." Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson "Investing in the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people is a priority for the McGowan Government. "This means working together across government, the sector and with leading researchers to develop new pathways that deliver better outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. "Importantly, it also means working with young people with lived experience of mental health, alcohol or other drug issues because what we are hearing from young people is the need for their involvement at all stages. "We have a responsibility to do all we can to create a community where children can thrive." Minister's office - 6552 5800
Derby Hospital solar contract awarded to local companies7451Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5940html15/10/2021 1:01:59 AM2021-10-15T01:00:00Z Contract to install solar at Derby Hospital awarded to West Kimberley companies Derby Hospital to save over $500,000 a year in energy costs A contract to install rooftop solar at the Derby Hospital has been awarded to two West Kimberley companies as part of the WA Recovery Plan. The 364 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar system will supply around 40 per cent of the hospital's energy requirements and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 334 tonnes annually. Generators and Off-Grid Energy together with Aboriginal-owned construction specialists H&M Tracey Construction have been awarded the contract to design and install the system. Both companies have proven track records in delivering large-scale, renewable energy solutions, including a 1.2 megawatt solar system at the Broome Boulevard Shopping Centre. Nine regional contractors will be engaged on the project and one Horizon Power project manager. Installation works begin this month and are expected to be completed early 2022. To date, 283kW of rooftop solar has been installed on the Shire of Derby/West Kimberley buildings, saving the Shire an average $130,000 a year in electricity charges and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 460 tonnes annually. In addition, 1,100 new smart LED streetlights have significantly brightened the streets of Derby, improving safety for pedestrians and drivers, and allowing streetlight faults to be remotely monitored and responded to promptly. Horizon Power will also deploy a community battery to ensure the hospital can benefit from the solar supply, without impacting the ability of other Derby rooftop solar customers. The $5.2 million Derby Solar, Battery and Smart Streetlights project was implemented by Horizon Power in consultation with WA Country Health Service. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The Horizon Power solar system will supply up to 40 per cent of the Derby Hospital's electricity, saving over $500,000 a year in electricity charges. "These funds can be redirected to provide an improved level of critical health care services for the Derby community. "Projects like this are key to creating sustainable regional economies, as part of the McGowan Government's WA Recovery Plan." Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston "The McGowan Government is committed to working closely with regional communities to provide renewable energy solutions to help reduce their electricity costs and contribute to net zero emissions by 2050. "This is just one of many projects being delivered as part of the WA Recovery Plan, which aims to create jobs, invest in our regions and help build a cleaner, greener energy future." Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna "This is an exciting project for the Derby community. Congratulations to the successful contractors Generators and Off-Grid Energy; and H&M Tracey Construction. "The Derby Hospital project has positively created local jobs for the community and opportunities for local suppliers." Health Minister's office - 6552 6500 Energy Minister's office - 6552 6700
Child safety laws pass WA Parliament7440Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements22600html14/10/2021 11:31:29 AM2021-10-14T10:15:00Z McGowan Government passes legislation to extend mandatory reporting requirements to ministers of religion, early childhood workers, out-of-home care workers, registered psychologists, school counsellors and youth justice workers Amendments to the Children and Community Services Act to improve connection to family, culture and Country for Aboriginal children in care Laws implement key recommendations of the landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse The Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2021 has today passed State Parliament, delivering on the McGowan Government's commitment to require ministers of religion to report child sexual abuse, including when information is gained during confession. The Bill implements recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) and recommendations of the 2017 Statutory Review of the Children and Community Services Act 2004. Safety of children is at the heart of the mandatory reporting reforms, which will better protect children by increasing the number of people who are legally required to report child sexual abuse. As well as ministers of religion, the changes extend mandatory reporting laws to early childhood workers, out-of-home care workers, registered psychologists, school counsellors and youth justice workers, in line with Royal Commission recommendations 7.3 and 7.4. Department of Communities officers and assessors appointed to visit residential care services and secure care will also become mandatory reporters. The staggered implementation of the eight new mandatory reporter groups is expected to increase the number of people legally required to report child sexual abuse by an estimated 55,000 reporters. Significantly, there will be no excuse for failing to make a mandatory report because a minister's belief was based on information disclosed to the minister during a religious confession, or because making the report would otherwise be contrary to the tenets of the minister's faith or religion. The State Government is also committed to working more closely with Aboriginal people, organisations and communities to build stronger connection to family, culture and Country for Aboriginal children in care because the evidence shows this is fundamental to achieving better outcomes for children in out-of-home care. Key amendments in the legislation supporting this include Changes to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle to prioritise placements in closer proximity to the child's community if placement with family or an Aboriginal person in the child's community cannot be achieved; Stronger consultation requirements for arranging who a child in care should live with (referred to as a 'placement arrangement'). As well as consulting members of the child's family and relevant Aboriginal staff of the Department of Communities, consultation will also have to occur with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander representative organisation; The Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander representative organisations must also be given the opportunity to participate in the preparation and annual review of children's cultural support plans; Provision of cultural support plans in written proposals to the Children's Court, as well as information on arrangements for placing the child in accordance with the Child Placement Principle and the placement consultation that has occurred; Before making a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) for an Aboriginal child with only non-Aboriginal carers, the court must consider a report from certain Aboriginal agencies or persons about whether the SGO should be made. These changes will strengthen the Act to better protect children from harm as a result of abuse. Further information about the Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2021 can be viewed on the Department of Communities website. Comments attributed to Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk "The experiences endured and courage shown by those who bravely stepped forward during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will not be ignored by the McGowan Government. "The extension of mandatory reporting laws to ministers of religion and a number of other professions sends a clear message that child safety must always be paramount. "In 2021, the McGowan Government has overseen the first reduction in the number of children in care since 1997, and these legislative amendments build on the government's ongoing work to protect children and young people in WA. "We are absolutely committed to working more closely with Aboriginal stakeholders to better inform decision making and ensure that Aboriginal people are at the centre of decisions that impact Aboriginal children, families and communities. "The amendments passed today strengthen the Act to better protect Western Australian children and young people from abuse and associated harm, and include a number of practical steps to achieve this." Minister's office - 6552 6600
Increased support for WA’s community housing sector7439Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements9730html14/10/2021 5:01:01 AM2021-10-14T05:00:00Z Community housing sector roundtable held to shape future direction of social housing delivery in WA McGowan Government is investing $2.1 billion in social housing over the next four years Priority reforms are underway to support a more collaborative partnership between the State Government and community housing sector Community housing providers will have access to increased borrowing capacity Representatives from the community housing sector have today met for the first of a number of roundtables convened by Housing Minister John Carey, to discuss the future delivery of social housing in Western Australia. It comes on the back of the McGowan Government's record $875 million injection towards social housing in the recent State Budget, with $2.1 billion being invested in the coming four years, including the delivering of around 3300 new social homes. The roundtables are being used as an opportunity to shape the ongoing strategic partnership between the State Government and community housing organisations. Speaking at the first roundtable session today, Minister Carey acknowledged the vital role the sector plays in WA and reiterated the State Government's commitment to implementing reforms that support providers to contribute to a resilient, diverse and effective social and affordable housing system. Minister Carey discussed policy changes already implemented and underway within the Department of Communities, as well as priority reforms intended to support a more collaborative partnership between the State Government and community housing sector. During the roundtable, Minister Carey announced the Government would be increasing its loan-to-value (LVR) cap for providers operating under a Community Housing Agreement with the Department of Communities. The cap will be increasing from 30 to 50 per cent. The change means community housing providers can borrow substantially more money to purchase, lease or build new social and affordable housing for Western Australians in need. A series of further meetings is planned to redefine and strengthen the State Government's relationship with the community housing sector. Western Australia's community housing sector is made up of 266 organisations, managing 22 per cent of the state's social housing between them, with a value of almost $2.5 billion. Comments attributed to Housing Minister John Carey "I have been very clear that my aim as the Minister for Housing is to boost our stock of social housing as fast as we can, and the community housing sector is an important part of making that happen. "Today's roundtable provided a great opportunity to discuss the relationship between the State Government and the community housing sector, and how we can foster a stronger strategic partnership into the future. "Putting a roof over someone's head is a transformative, life-changing event that provides stability, safety, connection to community and is at the core of improving a person's overall wellbeing. "The State Government is investing heavily in social housing, with $2.1 billion being invested over the next four years. "I want to assure community housing providers that we are committed to supporting the sector and developing a shared vision for the future of Western Australia's social and affordable housing system. "When we work together, we can be more efficient and effective, and deliver better outcomes for people in need." Minister's office - 6552 5300 ​
Western Australia jobs market powers ahead7438Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements13770html14/10/2021 4:34:21 AM2021-10-14T04:30:00Z New all-time high for Western Australian employment - with 1.427 million employed WA unemployment the lowest in the nation at 4.1 per cent - lowest since early 2013 An additional 10,800 full-time jobs created in September WA records the lowest youth unemployment and underemployment rates of the States in September The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest labour force data for September highlights once again that Western Australia's economy is the strongest in the nation. Western Australia's unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in September, down 0.5 percentage points - the lowest in the country. The total number of Western Australians employed rose to 1.427 million - the highest on record. An additional 3,600 new jobs were created in September, with a 10,800 increase in the number of people in full-time employment. In contrast, nationally, employment fell by 138,000 in September. Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 4.6 per cent in September. However, this does not take into account the more than 334,000 people who have exited the national workforce due to the New South Wales COVID-19 Delta outbreak. If these people were captured in the national unemployment rate, it would have risen to around 7 per cent. The national labour force participation rate fell to 64.5 per cent in September, while Western Australia's participation rate remained the strongest of the States at 68.8 per cent. Western Australia's underemployment was the lowest of the States at 7.2 percent and the youth unemployment rate was also the lowest at 8.2 per cent. Since the McGowan Government came to office more than 123,000 jobs have now been created, with around 44,000 created since the start of the pandemic. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "The labour force data for September continues to highlight that Western Australia has the strongest economy in the nation due to our efforts to keep COVID-19 out. "The New South Wales COVID-19 Delta outbreak has had a devastating impact on the economies of larger east coast states. "New South Wales and Victoria have been in lockdown for months, resulting in many people losing their jobs and troubling times for businesses. "Western Australia has crushed any outbreaks of COVID-19 as quickly as possible, with just 12 days in lockdown since the initial outbreak of the virus. "Western Australia has carried the nation throughout the pandemic thanks to our efforts to keep people safe and our economy open, strong and COVID-19 free." Minister's office - 6552 5200
$5 million for world-class WA-based guide dogs breeding program7437Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements11590html14/10/2021 12:45:37 AM2021-10-14T00:45:00Z $5 million investment to deliver breeding program for Guide Dogs WA Funding will help Guide Dogs WA meet growing demand for assistance dogs More dogs will be available for people with a range of specific needs Investment will allow for the re-establishment of the cadet training program The McGowan Government has provided $5 million to Guide Dogs WA to assist the organisation to set up a world-class guide and assistance dog breeding program in Western Australia. This initiative was a McGowan Government election commitment and will help Guide Dogs WA meet the growing demand for assistance dogs in Western Australia. This includes specialised autism assistance dogs and therapy dogs, dementia dogs and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) dogs. The funding will assist Guide Dogs WA to establish a number of breeding locations across the State and will cover fit-out of breeding centres; specialised staffing costs; increasing the fleet of fit-for-purpose vehicles; and specialised whelping and puppy equipment. The funding will also allow Guide Dogs WA to re-establish its cadet training program, to increase the number of local, highly qualified dog trainers in the State. Having more dog trainers will be critical to meet the increased number of assistance dogs coming out of the breeding program and match the dogs to individuals and organisations in need. Guide Dogs WA will also commit $5 million towards the program, raised through bequests and donations. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "In the lead up to the election we made a commitment to Guide Dogs WA that we would provide $5 million to assist them in establishing a world-class breeding program for assistance dogs, right here in Western Australia. "There is a growing need for assistance dogs and guide dogs in the WA community, and helping Guide Dogs WA establish a world-class breeding facility locally will go a long way to addressing that need. "Guide Dogs WA has also cited a lack of specialised programs to equip the next generation of guide dog trainers, so establishing a cadet training program here in WA will help address that, while creating local jobs." Comments attributed to Local Government Minister John Carey "Guide dogs and assistance dogs make life-changing differences for people with low-vision, disabilities and other illnesses. "This $5 million in funding means WA will be able to address our growing need for more guide dogs and assistance dogs locally, rather than sourcing dogs and trainers from interstate or overseas. "This significant funding will make a lasting difference to the lives of people who experience visual impairment, autism, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder." Minister's office - 6552 5300 ​
Adventurous minds convene to plan the future of WA’s trails7436Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements11270html13/10/2021 11:47:11 PM2021-10-13T22:00:00Z More than 200 key decision-makers come together at three-day trails forum Forum to focus on recovery, resilience and recreation WA's trail industry has experienced significant growth during COVID-19 More than $20 million invested in Great Southern trails and National Park amenities through the McGowan Government's WA Recovery Plan Western Australia's biggest-ever trails forum is being held in Albany today to discuss how the state can harness the economic potential of some of our fastest growing pastimes - hiking, trail running and mountain biking. Key decision-makers from government, the not-for-profit sector and businesses will come together to discuss current opportunities and challenges and plan the future of trails and recreation in WA. Former Olympic pole vaulter and passionate outdoor recreation advocate Emma George will give the keynote address on her personal journey of recovery and resilience. The forum is part of the ongoing work set out in the Western Australian Strategic Trails Blueprint 2017-2021, a guide for consistent and co-ordinated planning, development and management of quality trails. It is being held on the back of one of the busiest periods for Western Australia's trail industry, which has experienced considerable growth as more Western Australians holiday at home. Participation in bushwalking has increased by 45.5 per cent in the four years to June 2020, while mountain biking grew 61.4 per cent for the same period. The growth in participation has been met with investment by the State Government, with more than $20 million invested in the Great Southern region towards trails and National Park amenities alone through WA Recovery Plan funding. The McGowan Government also released its 10-year WA Hiking Strategy in June 2020 as a plan for further growth, while further trails funding has been delivered through programs such as WA Hiking Participation Grants, Regional Economic Development Grants, and election commitments such as the Dwellingup Trails Gap Project. The forum is delivered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Outdoors Great Southern and the City of Albany. Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti "For the past 20 years, trails forums have played an important role in providing the sector with an opportunity to remain informed and connected through addressing topical trends and challenges, often around access, planning and participation. "This year the forum is reflecting a focus on the personal and industry impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of trails and recreation in recovery and resilience. "With participation in trail running, bushwalking, mountain biking and other trail activities growing like never before, today's forum will help harness this advantage and create opportunities that promote and grow hiking in WA to embrace and benefit communities on an economic, tourism and social level." Comments attributed to Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson "The McGowan Government is investing in trails across the state, committing more than $20 million in Great Southern trails and National Park amenities. "The popularity and importance of our trails has never been more evident with data showing bushwalking participation has skyrocketed as more Western Australians choose to spend their holidays enjoying our beautiful natural environment. "The trails forum is a great opportunity for all sectors to come together to explore opportunities to further develop the economic, tourism and recreational potential of this budding industry." Comments attributed to Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens "Albany, and the wider Great Southern region, is arguably the hiking capital of Western Australia and that reputation will continue to grow with our continued investment. "Bringing the wider trail industry to Albany will be a great opportunity to share ideas and build on the great things achieved for hiking, trail running and mountain biking over the past few years." Sport and Recreation Minister's office - 6552 6400 Environment Minister's office - 6552 5900
Call out for local workers for harvest season7435Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements13460html13/10/2021 3:54:59 AM2021-10-13T03:45:00Z Travel and accommodation allowances available to support agricultural work in the regions McGowan Government resets incentive scheme to allow workers to claim allowances for a second year Incentives provided to more than 1500 applicants over first 12 months of the scheme New 'Harvest Force' initiative launched to support grains industry The McGowan Government is once again putting generous incentives on the table to encourage Western Australians to travel to the regions to assist the State's primary industries with the upcoming harvest. It comes as the State joins with industry to launch the Harvest Force initiative, to support the grain harvest workforce. The Primary Industries Workers Regional Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme was introduced in 2020, providing eligible workers with an accommodation allowance of $40 per night up to a maximum of 12 weeks, in addition to a one-off travel allowance of up to $500. To date, more than $1.9 million has been provided as part of the program to more than 1500 applicants who have travelled to destinations throughout the State - particularly the South West and the Wheatbelt. The McGowan Government has reset the scheme's eligibility criteria, allowing workers who claimed the scheme over the past 12 months to do so again in the upcoming harvest. As part of efforts to mobilise a local agricultural workforce, the McGowan Government today joined with Grain Growers Ltd and Agribusiness Australia to launch the Harvest Force initiative. Harvest Force is a practical, innovative solution to source willing, qualified and experienced grain harvest personnel from the agribusiness sector and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to assist WA farmers with this season's anticipated record crop. Many agribusiness workers who have on-farm experience possess valuable skills, like machinery operation, and will require minimal training to assist with the grains harvest. The State Government is funding a coordination role within Grain Growers to manage the movement of skilled agribusiness personnel into on-farm roles to support harvest. The McGowan Government is also continuing to facilitate the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, which have seen more than 1750 Pacific Islanders safely enter WA since December 2020. For more information on travel incentives, visit www.wa.gov.au/regional-travel-support. Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan "We know we are on track for a record grain harvest this year, on top of the huge number of jobs available right across our primary industries. "We're pulling out all stops to encourage local workers to get out and support our farmers during the harvest. "It has been very encouraging to see how many West Australians have listened to the call to arms in 2020 and 2021, heading out to the regions to support our agricultural industries. "The Regional Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme has played a valuable role in attracting extra workers to the regions over the past 12 months, particularly during the busy grains and horticulture harvest period. "The Harvest Force initiative will help bolster the available farm-familiar workforce for the grain sector, coordinating agribusiness staff to head out onto farms over coming months. "We encourage anyone with an interest in agriculture, the regions and adventure - young and not-so-young - to consider working on a farm during this important time on the agricultural calendar." Minister's office - 6552 6200 ​
Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics make it easier for residents in the regions to roll up for WA7434Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements17430html13/10/2021 2:11:12 AM2021-10-13T02:05:00Z ​More mass vaccination clinics popping up across regional WA COVID-19 vaccination clinics underway in Newman, Fitzroy Crossing, Broome and Geraldton Additional clinics scheduled for Karratha, Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Hedland, Halls Creek, Wyndham, Kununurra and more McGowan Government working with Commonwealth providers and industry partners to make it easier than ever before to access a COVID-19 vaccination Mass vaccination clinics are being rolled out in priority areas across regional Western Australia - boosting vaccination rates and making it easier than ever for country communities to roll up for WA. A mass vaccination clinic in Hedland, held in collaboration with Aspen Medical, administered more than 2,300 vaccine doses last week alone. In Albany, a two day walk-in mass vaccination clinic administered almost 900 vaccines. Mass vaccination clinics currently underway include Newman Newman TAFE, October 11-17, 10am-8pm Geraldton 60 Rifle Range Road, October 11-22, 9am-3pm (Monday to Friday) Fitzroy Crossing Tarunda IGA, October 11,12 and 14, 9am-12pm Broome Goolarri Media, October 12-13, 10am-6pmFurther mass vaccination clinics planned for the coming weeks include South Hedland October 13 Karratha (Commonwealth led) October 14-24 Paraburdoo October 20 Tambellup October 21 Wyndham October 22-23 Tom Price October 22-26 Katanning (GP led) October 23 Brunswick October 23 Halls Creek October 26-27 Kununurra (GP led) from October 28-29.Many of these clinics are being undertaken in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, GPs or are supported by industry partners, including BHP in Newman, the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service in Geraldton and the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service in Broome. These pop-up vaccination clinics are in addition to the State-run COVID-19 vaccination clinics available in more than 100 locations across WA and listed on Healthy WA. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "It's been great to see country communities rolling up to protect regional WA against COVID-19. "These vaccination clinics from Wyndham in the East Kimberley to Paraburdoo in the Pilbara and to Albany in the Great Southern will mean there are even more opportunities for people to get vaccinated. "More than 70 per cent of Western Australians aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and we want to continue to get as many Western Australians vaccinated as possible." Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "There are now more than ever, many opportunities for Western Australians in regional areas to get vaccinated. "It's never been more accessible to get a COVID-19 vaccine across our vast State. "I'd like to acknowledge the staff at the WA Country Health Service, teams at Aboriginal Medical Services and our industry and Commonwealth partners." Premier's office - 6552 5000Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Country football kicks goals for mental health7433Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8980html13/10/2021 2:03:58 AM2021-10-13T02:00:00Z $855,000 grant over three years continues supporting mental health and wellbeing Program raises awareness and delivers activities for positive mental health in regional communities Health Minister Roger Cook today announced the WA Country Football League (WACFL) has been awarded a three-year Healthway grant totalling $855,000 to continue its mental health promotion program. The McGowan Government originally supported this program for three years and will continue to support the program for another three, to build on these established foundations and extend the program to provide training and education activities for WACFL participants and its communities. The program is a collaboration between Healthway, the WACFL, the Department of Justice, the Mental Health Commission, and The University of Western Australia. The WACFL is the governing body for country football with 25 senior leagues, 150 clubs, 12,500 players and 5,000 volunteers across Western Australia. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "This Healthway funding continues to help promote and grow the program so that more Western Australians have access to mental health and wellbeing support. "The program aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, and to promote strategies on how to maintain good mental health and access support services in regional communities." Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson "Regional footy clubs are really great places for community members to connect with other people and feel they belong. "This is especially important when you consider that people from country areas - particularly men - can and do suffer from poor mental health. "It's great news that the Think Mental Health program will continue for another three years. "Early and targeted campaigns have proven to be effective and help people seek support sooner and where they need it." Minister's office - 6552 6500 ​