House debates

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Questions without Notice

Mental Health

2:19 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | Hansard source

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)


Bianco Salsano
Posted on 11 Jun 2017 3:48 am (Report this comment)


My concerns as a ADHD BP1 Australian under the DDA and the implications that I have had to face falling under the derogatory, stigmatic dogmatic discriminating issues that adults such as myself with ADD, ADHD, Autism, Bi-polar and other relative mental dispositions have had to face when it comes to the legal assistance process.

Its simply non existent. Disability as we Australians assume is obviously "noticeable" to the eye. You can either see a persons disablement by way of "wheel" chair and so on. However, with mental illness that is some cases is more painfully absorbing because the reality is no one can physically see it, so therefore its construed as minor. Well I'd like to say that there is a strong presence within the social media world today of more and more cases of minor children being diagnosed with mental illnesses and the growing alarm for our health system to impede on the schooling and employment system to make necessary adjustments is important.

However what about the people that have suffered misdiagnosis? Such as my self? I have had to live an uncomfortable quality of life because I was not carefully assessed by doctors or even that of the systems that were there at the times pointed to the incorrect theory of me being simply "overly energized" and "troublesome". Now, I know of a large group of ADHD diagnosis adults that have had major implications in there quality of life leading them to where they are now. Mind you the ones that were able to refrain from being locked up in prison and avoid being buried young have along with myself some tel-tail signs of gruesome upbringings and unjustified discrimination. Again, I bring my matter back to the core issue here which is legal assistance within the area of mental health however targeted for mental health issues alike and similar to the people such as me whom have suffered and have every right to the law. But the law doesn't have access to them because they are unaware or are simply not assisted and hence rejected. I was rejected legal aid for a substantial DDA case no sorry cases I have to pursue. The areas of TORT law were not covered and as soon as I had mentioned mental comorbidity, I never heard back? I must have sent that many emails, called that many departments only to be shut down and told to contact the next. Not only are we "fighting & flighting" our minds 24-7 we have to put up with the display of discriminatory responses from various areas of departments to be heard. Now, you may or may not know how it is like to live with a mental illness. Its a tough gig. Yet, we are so far behind the eight ball here in Australia we choose to step it aside.

EXAMPLE: I urge you to type in your computer when you get home, "Mental health legal assist" See what transpires and see if you will get a response. Now, take the urgently needed mental health sufferer whom requires urgent food, home and shelter and is that far mentally exhausted he couldn't be bothered fighting his mind anymore and surrenders to himself by saying "its just the way it is" I engaged into to helping my own health and went to LA to rehabilitation and post my return was rejected to board a flight on an Australian airline because there was a note on the system regarding rehab and mental illness! The airline refused me to board at LAX back to Sydney. I had no money on me hence I had resorted to flying back that day and I was refused to board for fear of other passengers? Mind you the rehabilitation center I was at had successfully discharged me. Yet, the airline refused. Now, that was last year in June 2016. I have probably heard back from the airline once or twice at the beginning and that was it. However If I had to choose legal assistance, the mere lash back I will get for not showing a psychical disability would be too hard to prove and rubbished away in the hard basket for compensation lawyers in this City. Yet, it amazes me how many compensation claim based law firms there are in Australia yet very few take on the matter for free. Is that not a discriminatory base judgement? Because you can't see the problem it doesn't hold water in court?

MOVING FORWARD: Do we have to incorporate a mental health squad of lawyers in this country that are freedom fighters and can show cause and do something right for Sydney? Because the last time I looked Sydney is very dry in the legal area with mental health ambassadors and crusaders they all seem to have jumped ship and live in Melbourne.

Are we assessing mental health illness the way we should be? Regarding addictions and gambling and drug comorbidity type issues where these people have suffered not only from the original disposition but essentially now carry two illnesses all in one?

I understand that the system revolves around work based making models. Creating jobs etc. However, if the very problems are superseding the money it is costing the health departments and we are stretching in all areas of public health and approach, government needs to do something about this urgently, I find t hard to believe that we pump more money in funding policing and crime when these areas are substantially low in accordance to figures many years ago, but we disregard mental health that surely should be number one on the agenda.

THEORY: And I hold much respect and admirable courage of gay and lesbian community whom fought tooth and nail for rights. Lets bring my above situation to the table. " I was gay, and came out of rehab and the airline refused me to board"

I assure you it would have made national TV as every gay and lesbian advocacy would have jumped at the opportunity to sue. Now, if you can recall gay and lesbian people suffered tremendous amounts of bullying and discriminatory backlash. They were once even considered to have a mental defect! This is the cold hard truth of the matter but they prevailed and successfully thought for there freedom. The problem for us is that we are limited in numbers, we are undeniable new movement to encourage change, however, without a substantial move from our government to allow legal representation for people such as myself and others and continue to make changes in all areas of everyday life so people would be more aware how to accept mental illness as a serious thing, then we wont have any chance. Legal aid is imperative and I have heard of one or two cases of late and how hard it is for these sufferers to endure what they are already enduring is simply wrong.

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