Victorian community health service, cohealth, has tonight recognised the Federal Government for delivering a Budget which makes some investments that will support Australia’s most vulnerable as we recover as a nation from the pandemic.
Nicole Bartholomeusz is Chief Executive of cohealth, a not-for-profit agency with more than 30 locations across Melbourne provides health and social support services to marginalised and disadvantaged Victorians. Ms Bartholomeusz says that while the Budget has neglected to address many of the ‘upstream’ drivers of health and wellbeing, the Federal Government is making progress in supporting our nation’s recovery.
“Emerging from COVID, we are poised at a crossroad. As a country we have the choice to come back stronger, healthier, and more equitable than before.
“The Federal Government has responded to pressure to address the historic under investment in the care for older Australians which is a critical down payment towards an aged care system that treats people with respect and care.
“The $2.3b for mental health and funding for domestic violence services will hopefully be invested in local services like cohealth that have significant wait lists for mental health and family violence counselling services. Community Health’s unique offering is to integrate funding from both the state and federal government to provide a comprehensive suite of services that wrap around and support clients’ health.
“During the pandemic, community-based organisations showed their ability to leverage existing relationships with isolated and hard-to-reach communities such as refugees and asylum seekers, the elderly, people in public housing, people experiencing homelessness and those with a history of mental illness.
“It’s time the community health model was recognised as a platform for federal investment and given the resources it needs to support its 50,000 high need clients. The pandemic has taught us that prevention and early intervention are more cost effective to the economy. Investment in the work of community health organisation is fiscally prudent.
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cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.