Tuesday 18 June 2013 [PDF,115kb]
The NSW Government has committed $15 million in the Budget to address problem gambling through high quality counselling services, research and education and awareness activities across the State.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality, Racing and the Arts, George Souris, said the 2013-14 Budget allocation to the Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF) will support mainstream and multicultural problem gambling counselling services, legal support for problem gamblers, and professional training for counsellors.
"The 2013-14 Budget will see almost $12 million put towards frontline counselling and support services in NSW to help problem gamblers and their families," Mr Souris said.
"This will include $10.8 million allocated to 54 Gambling Help counselling services including mainstream and multicultural services, plus two State wide support services offering legal support for problem gamblers and their families and professional training services for counsellors.
"The Statewide legal service for problem gamblers and their families will provide free legal assistance and advice to problem gamblers and their families, plus legal advice and support to Gambling Help services across NSW.
"There will be $862,000 allocated for the Gambling Helpline (1800 858 858) and another $303,598 to the Gambling Help Online service which provide confidential counselling and referral services 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
"Also, $650,000 will be provided for problem gambling education and awareness activities in NSW including activities for multicultural communities.
"In addition, the NSW Government will be providing $1.35 million a year over three years for prevention, early intervention and awareness programs in Aboriginal communities including initiatives aimed at increasing the availability of Aboriginal problem gambling counsellors.
"The latest research into problem gambling will be supported with $290,000 to Gambling Research Australia, which is a partnership between the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to initiate and manage a national gambling research program."
Mr Souris said, in April, the Government announced contracts worth more than $48 million over four years for high quality counselling and support services for problem gamblers across NSW.
"These organisations will share in more than $48 million through to June 2017," Mr Souris said.
"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.
"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."
Problem gamblers and their families can access help 24-hours-day, seven-days-a-week by phoning 1800 858 858 or visiting www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au
MEDIA: Norm Lipson 0467 734 679