The Morrison Government is providing a $1.4 million grant from proceeds of crime to charity organisation Fortem Australia for critical work supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the national security and law enforcement workers who work tirelessly to keep Australians safe.
Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the pandemic has had significant impact on frontline personnel, making them more vulnerable.
“The mental wellbeing of our national security and law enforcement communities is of paramount importance. We need them to be at their best when they are called upon to help and protect us,” Minister Andrews said.
“These communities are frequently exposed to risky and distressing situations and other day-to-day workplace stresses, such as heavy workloads, tough shifts and confronting interactions with the public, including incidents of violence.
“They also have worries about their own health and the health of their loved ones.”
“This grant is about looking after the people who look after us, and ensuring they have the tools they need to be healthier and more resilient, and better equipped to deliver on primary responsibilities of law enforcement and national security crime fighting activities.”
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention David Coleman welcomed the funding.
“Investing in the mental health of our frontline personnel makes good business and operation sense,” said Assistant Minister Coleman.
“Workplaces with a positive approach to mental health and safety have increased productivity, improved worker engagement and are better able to recruit the retain talented people.”
Fortem Australia Managing Director, John Bale said “We are thrilled to be able to support members of national security and law enforcement with proactive mental health measures during this particularly stressful time.”
“We thank the Federal Government for funding preventative mental health initiatives to help support the mental health of our national security and law enforcement personnel.”
“With our national security and law enforcement staff impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we intend to use the funding to expand our clinical and psychology services, in conjunction with mental health literacy and wellbeing activities to support enhanced connection and support networks for better mental health.”
“Fortem Australia will continue to work collaboratively with national security and law enforcement agencies to increase awareness of social and emotional wellbeing issues while providing a clear, independent pathway to seeking assistance.”
The Fortem suite of wellbeing programs in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are specifically designed for law enforcement personnel and their families and are tailored to complement existing support programs across a number of national security portfolio agencies.
The programs place an emphasis on early intervention and accurate diagnosis and treatment, as well as providing wellbeing support officers, clinical and tele-health services and other health programs designed to build peak mental fitness.
Since 2013, the Coalition Government has provided funding of more than $209 million under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to Commonwealth law enforcement agencies to support key crime prevention and law enforcement initiatives.
Under the Coalition Government, funding to the Australian Federal Police has also increased to over $1.7 billion. Seizures and restrictions of illicit goods form the basis of proceeds of crime funding streams, which goes back into the community through organisations and programs like Fortem Australia.
Only the Morrison Government will ensure strong support for our law enforcement agencies to keep Australians safe.