Tuesday 23 April, 2013
The Minister for Hospitality and Racing, George Souris, today announced contracts worth more than $48 million over four years for high quality counselling and support services for problem gamblers across NSW.
Mr Souris said the Government’s Responsible Gambling Fund will support mainstream and multicultural problem gambling counselling services, legal support for problem gamblers, and professional training for counsellors.
"Today I am very pleased to announce the 56 services which have successfully tendered for contracts to provide high quality problem gambling counselling and support services on behalf of the Government over the next four years," Mr Souris said.
"These organisations will share in more than $10.7 million in funding in 2013-14 and more than $48 million through to June 2017.
"Face-to-face counselling services will be funded across NSW including Sydney, the Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, New England/NorthWest, North Coast, Riverina/Murray, South East and Western NSW regions.
"Statewide services will also be provided to support problem gamblers from non-English speaking backgrounds, to help problem gamblers facing legal difficulties, and to ensure that NSW’s gambling counsellors have access to the latest professional training.
"These organisations and services will deliver best practice programs and support to efficiently and effectively target problem gambling on the frontline of metropolitan, regional and remote communities - right across our State."
Mr Souris said the Government will be supporting problem gambling services that are accessible and relevant to local communities and of a consistently high standard.
"The Government conducted a needs analysis into the problem gambling sector last year which consulted widely and examined data about gambling prevalence and counselling needs and access across the State," Mr Souris said.
"Areas identified for improvement included better access to more after hours counselling support; access to financial counselling alongside therapeutic counselling; appropriate referrals to skilled clinicians for problem gamblers facing complex mental health issues; more community education about problem gambling and greater promotion of counselling services; and the need to ensure quality services were supported and shaped by measured outcomes.
"Over the next four years we will be providing services tailored to specific community needs to help turn around the lives of the 0.8 per cent of the NSW adult population that has a gambling problem, to bring relief to not only them but also their families and loved ones."
Mr Souris said 24-hour telephone counselling support will also continue to be available as well as access to support via the internet and email to ensure problem gamblers can get the help they when and where they most need it.
For further information on problem gambling support services visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au or phone 1800 858 858.