Casey: Libs campaign on youth hub


Phoebe Miller

The Hub in Casey could close its doors

Every Thursday afternoon, the Lilydale Youth Hub opens its doors for the local youth to   hangout, play games and eat together. Teenagers from local high schools visit after school, connect with their friends and talk about their day and week to the staff who wander around.

But the Hub is forecast to close by November if it cannot get further government funding.

Bridget Vallence, the MP for Evelyn, has advocated for the funding towards the hub as part of her campaign for reelection.

“We need better mental health support services here in Evelyn,” she said. “The state government needs to immediately allocate funding to the Lilydale Youth Hub to ensure our local youth can access the vital mental health support services they deserve.”

In Parliament recently, Vallence told Minister for Mental Health James Merlino about the Hub’s funding crisis. The prospect of losing the Hub, which has “kept thousands of local young people out of tertiary mental health and justice systems”, would be “devastating” she said.

The Hub offers mental health counseling, health services, homelessness support, Aboriginal health and community support, legal services, NDIS services, employment, education and training.

It runs a range of events, including daily events over the summer, the Thursday night session, a Monday games session, a Friday jam club, art therapy and the Rural Rainbow program, which provides support for LGBTQIA+ every fortnight on Wednesdays

According to the ABS, there are around 5200 high school students in the Evelyn electorate, which covers 252 km of the outer north-eastern fringe of Melbourne.

The electorate is classified as rural and has been a safe Liberal  seat since 2006.

Lorna Dent is running as the Labor candidate for Evelyn. Central to her campaign has been the $250 power saving bonus, cost of living and the healthcare crisis.

“I promise you that I will work for you, your family and the businesses that make Evelyn their home,” she said in a Facebook post.

In her post she promised there “would be no negativity” or “dirt slinging”, “every minute spent flinging mud is a minute spent not working for the people of Evelyn,” she said.

The Andrews Labor government has revealed $1.3 billion for funding towards new mental health initiatives, and a further $12 million in mental health and wellbeing support for families whose infants, children or young people are accessing acute care in regional Victoria.

According to Vic Health around 14 percent of children aged four to 17 are affected by mental illness at some times, which rises to 26 percent for those aged between 16 and 24.

The Liberal Nationals plan to deploy dedicated mental health specialists to Victorian schools, in order to expand mental health support.

“The mental health workforce is under intense pressure and in desperate need of more resources,” shadow minister for mental health Emma Kealy said.

The state election will be held on November 26.

Lorna Dent wasn’t available to comment before publication.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can access these services:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Help line: 1800 551 800

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

Headspace: 1800 650 890