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Audit cuts to rural SA will have human cost

Media Release
Penny Wright 2 May 2014

Huge cuts to rural and regional services will have drastic mental health consequences if adopted by the Abbott Government, Australian Greens Senator for South Australia Penny Wright has warned.

Senator Wright urged the Abbott Government to immediately reject proposals to abolish the Rural Financial Counselling Service and Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme.

"The Abbott Government must not sell out rural and regional South Australia," Senator Wright said.

"These programs have supported thousands of country families through tough times."

"There is a real risk that cutting these vital services would increase mental health troubles in regional areas."

Senator Wright said there was a strong link between financial strain and poor mental health among farmers and primary producers.

"For many, the free advice of the Rural Financial Counselling Service has been life-saving," Senator Wright said.

"The recommendations of the Commission of Audit are truly frightening for country South Australia.

"The Australian Greens strongly believe we need to be doing more to support the regions and we're urging Tony Abbott not to rip away the limited services that exist."

The Commission of Audit has also recommended reducing funding for Landcare and for rural research and development.

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