My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, and it is in relation to the National Centre for Farmer Health. The house is well aware that the government made a decision earlier this year to cease funding of $1 million per annum to the centre. The impact of that decision has been felt throughout the Hamilton community and regional Victoria. We have had a number of petitions presented to the house. They continue to come into my office, and I will continue to table them in the Parliament. It is not a gross understatement to say that the surrounding community is particularly disappointed with the decision as it will impact on each and every person who works at the centre as well as on the livelihoods of farmers right across Victoria.
Tonight I am particularly concerned that the minister still has not had an opportunity to muster up the courage to explain to the Western District Health Service, which runs the centre, or to the community in general why the government made the decision. There were a number of quotes in the Hamilton Spectator of 30 August stating that the minister had not contacted the CEO of the health service, Jim Fletcher. In fact Mr Fletcher has not heard from the minister at all.
Indeed the minister has not responded to any of the queries that the Hamilton Spectator has made about this matter, so it was a particular surprise when community members heard on ABC local radio in Horsham last week the minister saying there is $250 000 available to the centre. That is news to me, it is news to the community and it is certainly news to the CEO of the Western District Health Service, Jim Fletcher.
The action that I request the minister to take forthwith is to at least contact the CEO of the Western District Health Service and explain whether the $250 000 is indeed on the table, what the rationale is for it and what strings are tied to it, because the original decision to cut the $1 million per annum means that jobs are being cut as we speak. I think the minister needs to get onto this matter as soon as possible, particularly given that on Monday the National Centre for Farmer Health has a big conference starting in Hamilton at which people, whether they be from this state, interstate or internationally, will be coming together to talk about what this government has done to wreck all the initiatives that have been undertaken by the centre over the last three years.