$6.5 million boosts support for kids with hearing loss

The Australian Government has delivered on a key election commitment and has provided $6.5 million to The Shepherd Centre to address gaps in hearing services available for children with hearing loss and their families in New South Wales and Tasmania.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Albanese Government has delivered on a key election commitment and has provided $6.5 million to The Shepherd Centre to address gaps in hearing services available for children with hearing loss and their families in New South Wales and Tasmania.

Construction is underway on a new facility in the Macarthur region of South West Sydney. The centre is expected to support more than 2,500 children with a hearing loss, and their families.

An additional two facilities will be established in Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania. These will be the first facilities in Tasmania to provide comprehensive on-the-ground support of this kind for children with hearing loss.

While The Shepherd Centre currently supports Tasmanian children and their families through telehealth and periodic outreach visits by their clinicians, the absence of permanent facilities in Tasmania unfairly disadvantages local children and families who need more intensive support.

All three centres are expected to be completed by in 2025.

The funding will also scale up the HearHub digital platform, so help is available regardless of geographical location.

HearHub provides clinical support and resources to organisations that work with children who have hearing loss. More than 9,000 Aussie kids with hearing loss and related communication difficulties, such as autism spectrum disorder, will benefit from this expanded and upgraded service.

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:

“For more than 50 years, The Shepherd Centre has provided Australians with services in speech and communication skills development, life skills and building emotional resilience from birth to 18 years old.

“The Macarthur region is the fastest growing area in NSW and The Shepherd Centre’s existing Liverpool facility is oversubscribed by families and the number of people requesting services continues to grow. Tasmania has no facilities of this kind.

“This grant of $6.5 million was an election commitment and I’m proud to deliver this funding so children with hearing loss in South Western Sydney and Tasmania will receive the support they need, where and when they need it.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Mike Freelander MP, Federal Member for Macarthur:

“In my professional career as a paediatrician, I have had a long standing involvement with the Shepherd Centre in providing words best practice management for my patients with hearing loss.

“I am very excited that we will have the Shepherd Centre in Macarthur and so very grateful to Health Minister Mark Butler and the Albanese Government for providing for the health needs of Macarthur’s children and the children of Australia.

“Funding for our Child Development Unit, funding for Tharawal, which is our local First Nations health centre, and increases to parental leave make me very proud to be a member of a Labor team that recognises the importance of healthcare as fundamental to our country”.

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