My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, and relates to the National Centre for Farmer Health and diabetes prevention. The Baillieu government’s decision to cut $1 million annually from the state government contribution is now being felt and is taking its toll as a number of staff have been terminated in recent weeks. A recent article in the Weekly Times states that without core funding the centre would struggle to stay open. The article also quotes the director of La Trobe University’s centre for sustainable communities, John Martin, who said that the decision to slash the centre’s funding was short-sighted and that the programs delivered by the centre had produced profound results and made the farming population a healthier group of people.
Recently the centre was also stripped of $94 069 from the Department of Primary Industries’ Health and Wellbeing for Farmers in a Climate Change program. The program concluded under budget due to efficiencies in running the program, and in the past the leftover money would have then been used by the centre to further the program. However, on this occasion the centre received acknowledgement for the great work it had done in delivering the program, but was denied its bid to keep the $94 000 for further work.
In response to an adjournment matter I raised last year on diabetes funding, the minister wrote back to me stating
“The Life! program has established links with the National Centre for Farmer Health to improve the reach of the program into Victorian farming communities.”
In 2011 the Baillieu government’s response to the report of the Victorian Parliament’s inquiry into the extent and nature of disadvantage and inequity in rural and regional Victoria states:
“The 2011 budget provided funding of $22.2 million over four years to continue the Life! program, which provides a statewide diabetes prevention program in partnership with the National Centre for Farmer Health/Sustainable Farm Families.”
My request is for the minister to provide me with examples and instances of current and future links and partnerships that the Baillieu government has alluded to on a number of occasions, between the Life! program and the National Centre for Farmer Health.