The Top End’s Lifeline service has closed after 10 years, and its chairman is blaming successive Northern Territory governing for failing to fund the frontline service.
The organisation had serviced the Top End for a decade, while its predecessor, Crisis Line, had supported Territorians since the days following Cyclone Tracy.
Lifeline Top End’s chairman Andrew Wharton said all avenues had been explored to fund the centre.
“We’re confident as a board of directors that we’ve done everything humanly possible to try and keep this business alive,” he said.
“We’ve lobbied two successive governments on the same point, with the numbers and the same purpose, and unfortunately none of that lobbying has been successful and that’s why we’re at, where we are now.”
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said in a statement that “Lifeline in the Northern Territory will not be interrupted. The Northern Territory Government is still negotiating with Lifeline Australia”.
Mr Wharton said the centre had struggled financially over the past year, surviving on $200,000 in government money as well as fundraising in the community.
“Last financial year we operated very close to the wire. If it wasn’t for the support of community, corporate Northern Territory and the people we serve, we probably would’ve been having this conversation about 12 months ago,” he said.
“What’s different now is that we will not [have] that face-to-face counselling service or that community engagement or the shop front.