Free cell phone calls to Lifeline from anywhere in Australia

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June 29, 2011 12:28 PM EST

Mobile phone calls to Lifeline made from anywhere in Australia will no-longer be charged starting 1 July under a new deal made between the three major phone carriers.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia have all agreed to abolish call charges from mobile phones to Lifeline’s national crisis line (13 11 14). This arrangement will also be passed through to the downstream resellers of the three carriers’ mobile services.

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, and the Minister for Broadband,
Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy today welcomed the agreement as an important means of helping people who are in crisis.

The Gillard Labor Government is providing $18.2 million over three years to Lifeline to boost the capacity of the organisation to respond to more calls and to support free calls from mobiles.

“Lifeline is the national provider of telephone-based support for people who are in crisis, offering 24 hour support to people who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and making it more accessible to anyone in a crisis situation is extremely important,” Mr Butler announced today during a visit to Lifeline Adelaide.

“Each year, more than 114,000 calls to Lifeline’s national crisis line are made from mobiles and more than 40 calls every day come from people at high risk of suicide.

“The costs associated with what is often a lengthy phone call may have been a disincentive for people who are seeking crisis care.

"This measure will remove cost as a barrier to seeking help and ensure more people can access the support that they need.”

Senator Conroy also thanked the three mobile phone carriers for working with Lifeline to achieve this outcome.

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