New funding for gambling counseling

Fifty new financial counselling positions across Australia will increase access to free counselling for people affected by problem gambling.

The  Commonwealth government today announced the successful organisations that will deliver these services as part of the Government’s $22.6 million funding boost.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said “The Gillard Government understands that many Australians enjoy gambling responsibly. But for others it can have devastating consequences.”

“Many problem gamblers are in severe financial difficulty by the time they seek help, and financial counsellors can help them get back on their feet.”

The financial counsellors will work closely with existing state government funded gambling help services when they run community outreach, work with gaming venues and make referrals to existing services, including Emergency Relief and microfinance.

The Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins said “Problem gamblers across every state and territory will be able to access these new services, with 17 positions in New South Wales, 10 in Queensland, nine in Victoria, four in South Australia, three in Tasmania, three in the Northern Territory, two in Western Australia, and two in the ACT”.

“We know that problem gambling affects up to five million Australians, including friends, family and employers of people with a gambling problem.

“That is why we are working hard to deliver genuine, long-lasting reforms to help problem gamblers and their families.”

This investment in additional financial counsellors to tackle problem gambling is part of the Government’s funding of more than $490 million for the Financial Management Program.