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Mums could be left without a vital helpline as a result of government cutbacks.

News.com.au reports the government funding for the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s 24 hour telephone counselling service runs out in June and the association says there is no process for it to reapply for the $1 million a year grant it relies on to survive.

“The government hasn’t indicated if we will have ongoing funding and there is no process for us to submit for new funds,” Australian Breastfeeding Association chief Rebecca Nalor told News Corp.

The service takes calls from 88,000 women every year asking for advice on how to breast feed and Ms Nalor says without the service Australia’s poor breast feeding rate is likely to slump even further.

“If we don’t have clarity regarding funding by end April will be have to start making plans to close the service including making six people redundant,” Ms Nalor says.

The federal government has slashed by $793 million the grants it provides to groups that deliver mental health services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, chronic disease and peak groups like the Heart Foundation and Public Health Association over four years.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the Government continues to support the efforts of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), and recognises the value of the Australian Breastfeeding Helpline.

The department received a proposal for a funding extension from the association yesterday and was assessing it, she said.

“Be assured that the Australian Government recognises the important contribution that breastfeeding makes to good health throughout life for both mothers and babies is committed to assisting mothers and their families to breastfeed, promoting the value of breastfeeding and improving breastfeeding rates in Australia,” the spokeswoman said.

A petition has been setup via change.org to help save the ABA’s National Breastfeeding Helpline. It has already received over 4800 signatures.

Share your comments below.

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  • This is an absolutely crucial service. But the government would rather spend billions on new fighter jets…..

    Reply

  • If this is defunded it would be another disgraceful crime by this government which cares little for ordinary people and their basic needs.

    Reply

  • This is important, but there are an awful lot of calls on government funds.

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  • yeah that is not going to be great if they close. hope that they get funding

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  • There seems to be many short sighted decisions recently.

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  • If they allowed New Mums to stay in hospital with hteir newborns for a couple more days, this service might be quite so desperately needed. They are sent home before Baby is starting to feed properly in 99% of cases. Some stay less than 24 hours.

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  • I have just signed this petition….
    A vital service for women across Australia that we can’t afford to lose.

    Reply

  • This service needs to be kept. As a first time expecting mum I felt much more comfortable knowing this service was available should I need any advice. Hearing that it will no longer be is very unfortunate

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  • Petition signed. ABA was a great source of support and information for me as I was navigating my way as a first time mum. I hope they are still around to help more mums.

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  • This would be terrible. It’s such an important service!! I’ve just signed the petition! Thanks!

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  • Lke hs

    Reply

  • If this service is cut, then I hope the money saved will be given to hospital maternity wards.


    • They will have Mums returning to Hospitals with breast problems or baby not feeding properly. They send them home too soon as it is, just as they need the emotional support.

    Reply

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