Thursday, 25 May 2017
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Mayo for her question, and I hope, in good faith that, when the time comes for a vote in this House on the Medicare levy to support full funding of the NDIS, she will support full funding and not repeat Labor's mistake of short-changing the NDIS. I hope that when the time comes in the Senate her colleagues will support full funding for the NDIS.
In relation, in particular, to psychosocial services: I deeply respect the question; however, I have to correct, respectfully, a number of errors. Firstly, approximately $4.2 billion is being allocated by the government this year and in successive years to mental health. That includes activities under Medicare, under the PBS, through our hospitals and through community mental health services. Approximately $700 million a year, or $3.5 billion over five years, will go to community mental health services. So that is a significantly greater figure than the $80 million that has been outlined.
However, that has been supplemented in this budget, as the member noted. The reason it has been supplemented is that in the original design of the NDIS there was a flaw. That flaw was that some of those who were outside the NDIS would miss out on psychosocial services. Psychosocial services are in addition to the clinical services; they are support for those with severe mental health conditions to be able to go about their day-to-day lives.
That gap was real, and it was something which was identified in a meeting with the Prime Minister and me by people such as Professor Pat McGorry, Professor Ian Hickie, Jackie Crowe from the National Mental Health Commission and others. In response to the points that they raised, we responded with an additional $80 million, which both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer themselves championed. I really want to acknowledge and thank them for their work. That $80 million will go directly to providing additional services over and above the current community mental health services and over and above that which will be developed within the NDIS. It is part of a broad $173 million package which we laid out only two weeks ago in the budget for additional mental health services, including youth suicide, mental health research and dealing with suicide hotspots—fundamentally important things.
All of this, though, is predicated on a working, fully funded NDIS. We have addressed the gap outside, which is why it was welcomed by Professor McGorry and Ian Hickie, but we have also addressed the gap inside the NDIS. So I repeat what I said at the beginning of this answer: I hope that the member, along with all of those in her party, will not make Labor's mistake of short-changing the NDIS. There is a chance for every member of this House to support a fair and equitable National Disability Insurance Scheme. (Time expired)