THE Andrews Government has taken the scalpel to the Northern Mallee Community Partnership (NMCP) as Labor’s health funding cuts continue to be exposed, according to the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy.

Ms Kealy, PICTURED, said that Labor’s Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, told Parliament recently that Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs) were not her priority.

During a visit to Mildura early this week, Ms Kealy said the vital services provided by NMCP were important to the Mallee.

“PCPs facilitate partnerships between local health and human service providers to improve the health and well-being of the community,” Ms Kealy said.

“They help fill that gap in rural communities where there isn’t a social worker available, no psychiatrist or psychologist, and so it is really vital support in a number of regions.

“One of the Northern Mallee Community Partnership’s key health programs is ‘Hands Up Mallee’, which provides critical support in bringing agencies together to address problems around disengaged youth. 

“This includes HomeBase, a safe ‘drop-in’ place designed by young people for young people, and Mildura Midnight Basketball.”

Ms Kealy said that the partnership was also a catalyst in establishing a local Mental Health Alliance to provide guidance and advocacy for local mental health programs and Project Ice Mildura.

“Without the Northern Mallee Community Partnership these programs just wouldn’t exist, which would be devastating for the Mallee region,” she said.

“This comes on the back of a long line of failures and funding cuts to frontline health services by Labor since the 2018 election, including a range of cuts to dental and community health, women’s health, palliative care services, health protection and cancer treatment technology.

“In addition to concerns about these important programs being axed, what will happen to the local jobs for those who provide these vital services?

“Health prevention is often the first step to tackling some of Victoria’s serious health challenges, yet Daniel Andrews has decided to cut funding to this crucial area of need.

“We need to make it clear we won’t stand for these cuts.”