Mental Health Review No Show
Tuesday, 2nd December 2014 at 11:42 am
The Federal Opposition claims the Abbott Government has failed to table the interim reports of its mental health review, despite a Senate vote last week forcing it to do so.
The Labor Opposition says the failure to release the interim reports leaves people living with mental illness and their representative organisations and service providers in the dark about its plans for the future of mental health programs and services.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Senator Jan McLucas last week moved a motion in the Parliament calling on the Government to table the first two reports of its mental health review.
Senator McLucas said this week that failure to table the reports was not good enough.
“To find that the Government has in fact not tabled the reports but rather claimed that to table them would ‘inhibit the ability of Government to properly respond to the Review’ is simply beyond belief,” Senator McLucas said.
“The public response in support of my motion for the reports to be tabled was very strong and I know many people will be bitterly disappointed that the Abbott Government has failed to provide them.
“This Government is continuing to run the mental health review in a shroud of secrecy and should be condemned for the way they are using the National Mental Health Commission, a respected organisation, to deliver the review.
“These reports are not just for the benefit of the Opposition.
“It is critical the mental health review reports are published for anyone to have faith that this Government will do the right thing by people living with mental illness in this country.
“I call on the Government to engage properly and appropriately and at the very least release the final report of the review in a timely manner, and tell the Australian public what their plans are for addressing the mental health needs of this country.
“Anything less sends a sad and shameful message that this Government doesn’t care about the need for a strong mental health system.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Health Minister, Peter Dutton said the Government is committed to building a world class mental health system that delivers appropriate services to support people experiencing mental ill health.
“That is why the Australian Government tasked the National Mental Health Commission to do a thorough review of all existing services – state, federal and non-government – to assess how well and efficiently they are helping their clients,” the spokesperson said.
“The Review by the National Mental Health Commission is the first step in establishing how we should be funding mental health programs into the future so that people can have better access to the treatments and services they need.
“The preliminary and interim reports are deliberative in nature and helped inform the Commission’s final report which the Government has now received.
“The Government will take time to consider the report and its recommendations and will make it publicly available at an appropriate time.”