Case management services at Gunida Gunyah will see a huge boost after receiving a slice of government funding to provide support for families with members who are at-risk or who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.
The funding comes under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), which helps to deliver a range of programs targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including alcohol and drugs, domestic violence, mental health and wellbeing, and youth offending.
The Gunida Gunyah project received $842,536 and is one of 43 recently funded under the multi-million dollar IAS program.
Member for Parkes Mark Coulton made the announcement in Gunnedah on Tuesday and said the funding was a welcome boost for an important service.
“Families of incarcerated people can be severely affected and support is vital for them at a very difficult time,” Mr Coulton said.
Gunida Gunyah CEO Jane Bender said the funding will be specifically used to provide a psychologist and case worker for intensive support programs for clients and their families.
“We have high incarceration rates here, which have huge flow-on effects for the whole family,” Ms Bender said.
“It’s about linking these people to more services, getting their issues sorted and helping them to sustain their tenancies. We need local services or these people just drop off.
“We want to delve into the issues of why this is the track they head down and show them that there is lots of support available. People don’t wake up and say ‘we are going to get arrested today’, there is more behind it and in a lot of cases it is drug related – ice in particular.”
Ms Bender said these issues can be hard to address at a grassroots level without additional funding and services.
“We want to nip it in the bud and prevent some of these people from going to jail – we need to break the cycle,” she said.
“We will be able to provide quality support to regional families that is just not available otherwise.”