I recently visited Relationships Australia in Deakin to learn more about the great work being done by a dedicated team of counsellors and mediators to build strong and positive relationships in Canberra and the region. Relationships Australia provides counselling, mediation and relationship education to individuals, couples, families and communities.
While there, I heard about a new non-violent resistance pilot program, which is based on the principles and philosophies espoused by Dr Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. The program helps parents experiencing challenges with their children develop the skills and resilience to manage better.
It’s long been acknowledged that when times are tough, relationships are more likely to break down. So my visit was timely, because the next few years are going to be difficult for Canberra. The Budget has seen thousands of public service jobs cut, the introduction of a $7 GP co-payment, a fuel tax and cuts to pensions, Family Tax Benefit B, Newstart and higher education.
All these changes will increase cost of living pressures for Canberrans, and make getting a job in our city more difficult.
During times like these, it’s important to remember that services like Relationships Australia are here to help. Financial counselling services also play an important role. The government website www.moneysmart.gov.au provides useful tips on managing debt, as well as contact details for a range of financial counselling services.
I encourage Canberrans to make the most of these services in these challenging times. I know we are a strong and resilient city, but sometimes even the strong and resilient need help to get by. Relationships Australia can be reached on 1300 364 277.
Published in the Canberra Chronicle, June 2014