Month: March 2015

The cost of health

Are you eligible for pharmaceutical assistance? It’s very likely the answer is “yes”

pills-26621_1280One of the greatest benefits of being an Australian citizen is our ace healthcare system. I personally know people who moved to our shores for this specific reason, as their native systems only offer a seriously sick person two choices: go bankrupt paying for treatment, or die. Medicare isn’t perfect, sure, but Australia’s healthcare system is ranked number 32 out of this planet’s 190 nations (fact: do NOT get sick in Myanmar).

One of the cornerstones of our strong healthcare system is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (the PBS), which is structured to provide discounts on essential medications for people on pensions and other Centrelink payments, such as NewStart Allowance. The PBS provides access to more than 2,600 prescription medications at a much, much lower cost. To make things even better, Pharmaceutical Allowance is an extra $6.20 that is given to people on the pension each fortnight in order to cover the price of meds under the PBS, and is usually automatically included with the main payment as standard. Sure, $6.20 doesn’t sound like an earth-shattering torrent of currency, but keep in mind that if you have a Pensioner Concession Card then filling a standard script for any medication listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is $5.90.

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Diverse duties done daily: Anothony Marfia


Anthony Marfia is employed by Prestige Packing at West Ryde, where he’s spent ten years working his way up through the ranks to become a leading hand. His diverse duties involve operating a skin packer, making deliveries in a truck and using a forklift as a qualified operator. Anthony’s general tasks vary from day to day, but can involve packing, using the pallet jack, general assembly, operating the compactor and pallet wrapper and he even does a bit of general cleaning. Anthony feels confident in all of his duties.

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The real human value of our business services

prestige packingPictured: Prestige Packing Harris Park

Prestige Packing Co has sites at Marrickville, Harris Park and West Ryde, and all three of them exclusively employ people who live with mental health issues and want to work.

Packing, like manufacturing and transport, is a vitally important part of the process of getting products onto supermarket shelves, yet it’s easy to overlook how many tens of thousands of workers are involved in this industry just across New South Wales alone. While we only employ a few hundred of the people who do production line work in this state, their efforts helps make it possible for our organisation to fund our many services and to offer the many other kinds of support we give to  people with mental health issues.

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Keeping busy means keeping well: Nancy B

Nancy Begley in colour DSC01577Nancy B spent many years working with Prestige Packing in Harris Park before becoming a valued member of the Figtree Conference Centre. She spoke with Panorama about her recovery journey, and how keeping busy is a huge part of making the most of life.

“The work environment you find at Prestige Packing at Harris Park or Figtree Conference Centre, where people understand you, makes it so much easier to always work at your best!” Nancy told Panorama.

Nancy knows her strengths and how to make the most of them.

“I’m polite and friendly, I like working, and I always put in one hundred percent. Sometimes it may take me a little while to learn a new skill, but once I do pick it up, it’s a cinch! I also like to arrive early to work in order to prepare, because having plenty of time to prepare means I won’t panic about things at the last minute.”

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Wake up early, meet nice people: Sally

Buckprint and Prestige Packing employee Sally sums it up like this: “I’m happy working for RichmondPRA. I’m not greedy and it keeps me out of mischief three days a week. It makes me want to wake up early and meet nice people!”

Panorama is wondering what Sally means by “mischief”, because when she’s not working in the staff canteen or on the shop floor, she’s a preacher.

“Preaching is my life,” Sally says, but she only does this as a volunteer, so she needs to work a day job, too.

“Everything is a choice,” Sally says as she slices through a huge onion for the day’s lunch menu. “When I was at uni getting my two degrees, I worked as a cleaner to support myself.”

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Our history, our mission


Open for business

The organisation formerly known as PRA launched Enterpraise over at Warwick Farm in 1993. This program was based on a work-crew model as a bridge to self-employment and rehabilitation for people who have mental health issues. Through this first initiative many people were eased back into the workforce with commercial contracts in gardening, maintenance and home improvement services in South West Sydney.

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