Australia’s favourite giraffe appears to have had its neck saved from the chopping block.
ABC News reports that Education Minister Simon Birmingham has thrown the popular education program a lifeline.
Healthy Harold, the giraffe that invites kids into his dark van to talk to them about drugs, is part of Life Education Australia (LEA).
There was mass outcry yesterday when LEA chief executive David Ballhausen revealed that the program’s federal funding had been cut from $500,000 to $0.
“This is quite… remarkable given the compelling need that exists across our community for strong, sustained and effective preventative health education,” he said in a statement.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) May 30, 2017
Wait what Healthy Harold is one of the best parts about being a kid in Australia, defund maths or something instead
— Brydie Lee-Kennedy (@BrydieLK) May 30, 2017
Healthy Harold. NO. NO NO NO NO.
— Caro Meldrum-Hanna (@caromeldrum) May 30, 2017
I remember kid ripping Healthy Harold off the presenter's hand, yelling "he's a puppet". "Shh! He doesn't know," presenter replied #auspol
— Tim Byrnes (@timbyrnes89) May 30, 2017
Today, however, the Government appears to have done a backflip, with Education Minister Simon Birmingham tweeting that the Government will continue to support LEA.
We support #HealthyHarold & will work with Life Education Australia to ensure the funding & the program continues
— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) May 30, 2017
David Hallhausen has thanked the public for their support of the program, which he believes led to the Government’s change of heart.
“Thank you for the extraordinary support we received last night. It was critical in helping generate this positive response from the Australian Government,” he said.
“We look forward to quickly resolving this issue and will keep you informed of the outcome.”
What are your favourite memories of Healthy Harold? Let us know in the comments below!