14 February 2020
Welcome rains may have fallen in many parts of the state but years of crippling drought conditions and terrible fires in northern NSW means communities deserve a break.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor today announced a free dose of much-needed comic relief along with access to health and rural financial advice will be on offer via the extended What a Relief! tour.

“Drought and bushfire have left their mark on northern NSW communities and while we have a focus on water security and the clean-up of destroyed properties, it is as important we look after people’s mental wellbeing,” Mrs Taylor said.

The extended tour dates will see comedian Rob Carlton perform 12 shows from the 10 March to the 22 March in the New England North West region – following the 15 shows being performed by comedian Damian Callinan.

Mrs Taylor said the tour will now travel to more of the region’s towns and villages including Baan Baa, Manilla and Gum Flat and while acts will vary throughout the tour, every show will be followed by a community barbecue where rural financial counsellors and health professionals will be present to provide support.

“What a Relief! will now unite more community members in local halls and bowling clubs and give more people permission to enjoy a few hours of laughs before connecting with mates in a friendly social setting where we have support available.

“Communities are feeling uncertain about the future right now and that can take its toll physically and mentally, so we are encouraging people to not only come along for a laugh but to have a chat with the friendly health and finance experts at each barbecue.”

Mrs Taylor said counsellors from NSW Rural and Remote Mental Health, primary healthcare nurses from Healthwise, rural financial counsellors from the Rural Financial Counselling Service and Local Land Services will be on hand at every stop of the tour.

“Our counsellors continue to work closely with people in both drought and fire affected regional communities around the State, helping them remain focused on getting through these times and I encourage anyone doing it tough to take up these services,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Across the tour, counsellors will mix with guests after each comedy performance, to engage in conversations and connect people with the counselling services available long after the tour ends.”

To attend your free local What a Relief! event, RSVP via your nearest show venue.
Current as at: Monday 10 August 2020