Senate debates

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mental Health

FIERRAVANTI-WELLS(New South Wales)(3.42 pm)—I move:

That the Senate—
(a)
notes that:
(i)
mental illness afflicts more Australians than almost all other health disorders, only ranking behind cancer and heart disease in prevalence,
(ii)
45 per cent of the nation’s population will experience a mental health disorder at some point in life,
(iii)
younger Australians, those between 16 and 24, bear the brunt of mental illness with the prevalence of problems declining with age,
(iv)
with early and targeted treatment many young people can overcome mental illness or lower the incidence of progression or relapse,
(v)
expansion of the ‘headspace’ and Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention (EPPI) centres models could help an estimated 200 000 young Australians and in doing so free up existing services for others with mental illnesses whilst also alleviating pressures on public hospitals and emergency departments, and
(vi)
the Government has moved to cut services in mental healthcare;
(b)
calls on the Government:
(i)
to expand the number of ‘headspace’ centres to a minimum of 90 nationally,
(ii)
to establish a national network of 20 EPPI centres,
(iii)
to provide an additional 800 beds for mental health associated with EPPI centres,
(iv)
to appropriate the funds necessary to provide these critical steps to expanding mental health treatment facilities, and
(v)
immediately to provide additional funds for existing ‘headspace’ centres; and
(c)
send a message to the House of Representatives informing it of this resolution and requesting that it concur.

Question agreed to.

3:43 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of John HoggJohn Hogg (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for two minutes.

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

The Greens did not support this motion—and I had already signalled to Senator Fierravanti-Wells that we would not—because there was no costing associated with the proposal. The Greens were very clear during the election that we wanted to see improvements to the funding of mental health, including for headspace, but we differed with the coalition’s policy in that we also wanted community based care and other care services provided, such as having people trained in mental health in emergency departments and having step-up, step-down accommodation. That is not dealt with by this motion. Until we see the full breadth of the coalition’s funding for this proposal, it worries us that the funding that is available for mental health will all be spent on this and not on the provision of other vital services. I do not want it taken that we do not support headspace or EPPI centres. We support those in the overall framework for the provision of services for mental health. The provision of other vital services was not accommodated in this motion, so we were unable to support it. We are very happy to support any motions that cover the full suite of mental health services.

3:44 pm

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Mental Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of John HoggJohn Hogg (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for two minutes.

Photo of Concetta Fierravanti-WellsConcetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Mental Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Could I just make a point, Senator Siewert: perhaps if you had taken the trouble to have a look at the coalition’s mental health policy then you would have seen the costings and the basis upon which the $1.5 billion was outlined. For the record, Senator Siewert, I am very happy to provide you with a copy and perhaps you can reassess your position.