New service to help ‘Work It Out’

Today, Senator Jim Molan, Senator for New South Wales formally launched a new service designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing difficulty with work or education due to drug or alcohol use.

Work It Out will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 30 years or younger in Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera to access employment opportunities and remain employed, or stay engaged with their study.

The new program is funded by Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) under the Australian Government’s PHN Program and will be delivered by Directions Health Services through their Pathways Murrumbidgee program in Wagga Wagga and surrounds, Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera.

Senator Molan praised the efforts of MPHN in developing the Work it Out Program to support community needs.

“MPHN has put together a comprehensive program, and Federal support of over $645,000 will help assist Aboriginal people in the region gain skills and enter or continue in the workforce,” Senator Molan said.

MPHN CEO Melissa Neal said the new service was commissioned to address community needs and complement other support services available to people in the Murrumbidgee region.

“This service will support Aboriginal people experiencing drug and alcohol concerns to maintain employment or continued engagement with education.

“We know that participating in work or education has positive benefits for people, their families and communities; ultimately improving health and social outcomes,” Ms Neal said.

After a comprehensive process Directions Health Service were selected as the preferred providers of the service.

“Directions are currently delivering a range of drug and alcohol services from their offices in Wagga Wagga and Griffith, with visiting services to other communities. Providing this service will further strengthen their presence in the Murrumbidgee region,” Ms Neal said.

Directions Health Services CEO Bronwyn Hendry said Work It Out is a unique program because the focus is on education and employment outcomes.

“The drug and alcohol treatment and support is directly linked, but is not the sole focus. The aim will be to help people stay in their employment, get a job, or continue with their education,” Ms Hendry said.

“Some people may only need to make small changes, other people might need more support.

“Our case managers will work closely with clients as well as our partners in job networks, vocational educators and local employers to ensure the program meets the needs of participants. Keeping people engaged in the program will be key to its success.

“This service is designed to intervene early and help people aged 30 or younger gain the skills and education they need to earn a living now and in the future,” Ms Hendry said.

Work It Out will assist people whose drug or alcohol use is causing them problems, regardless of how much or how frequently they use. There is no one size fits all model, rather treatment is tailored to meet individual needs.

Cristy Houghton