Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, congratulated the Government and Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, on the announcements regarding major mental health reforms. The Australian Government Response - Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services introduces significant changes to a system which has failed mental health sufferers and families.
“This is an important day and I am pleased the Government has listened to the concerns raised by the sector, mental health sufferers and families,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan made mental health, particularly youth mental health, a major 2013 election commitment. Since her election, Ms McGowan has made ongoing representations to Government, lobbied for mental health reforms, established a youth mental health group, and moved a Motion calling on the Government to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health a national priority. Earlier this month, she chaired the Beyond Blue forum in Wangaratta, and last week visited Kerferd Clinic.
Ms McGowan said she was particularly pleased the Government will provide more assistance for young people suffering mental health and a greater focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health welcome in the Response.
“There is a desperate need in these areas,” she said.
Ms McGowan will be ensuring people in regional Australia get equitable services to major centres. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014 figures show people in rural and regional Australia were underfunded and under serviced.
“I will meet with service providers and families to discuss the Government Response,” Ms McGowan said.
“These reforms must be accepted by the rural mental health sector and people and families dealing with mental health issues,” Ms McGowan said. “I encourage people to have their say about the reforms and structural changes and whether they will deliver positive outcomes for people in your community.”
The Government Response to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services is online.