Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Leichhardt for his ongoing work with Indigenous communities across this nation. Suicide rates from the mid-eighties have doubled in Indigenous communities. What we did during the Darwin and Kimberley roundtables was look at solutions that were community-led and Aboriginal influenced. I involved Christine Morgan in two of those meetings so she had a sense of what Indigenous Australians were saying about the continuity of life and the those suicides happening at a rate that was far too frequent. During the budget process, where we announced $2.3 billion to restructure mental health and tackle suicide, there were some very tangible outcomes for Indigenous programs that would make a difference on the ground. On top of that was the $500 million for the COVID response given what people experienced. Many Indigenous people will access this program as well.
But the specific ones that are important out of the $79 million include: $27.3 million to implement culturally sensitive co-designed after care—it is important that we address the events and provide the interventions for that impact on families; $23.38 million to support the establishment of regional suicide prevention networks, with the appointment of a commissioning officer in each of those regions to work very closely with Indigenous people, government agencies and NGOs; $16.6 million to Gayaa Dhuwi and Lifeline to establish and evaluate a culturally appropriate 24/7 lifeline, which is absolutely critical in ensuring that people have a lifeline they can ring in which they get the right information; $6.1 million to secure a national Indigenous leadership program so that our people are equipped with the skills to reduce those impacts and to reduce suicides; $1.5 million to support a review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector delivering mental health services to look at where we can make substantial changes and improvements and engage better to reduce the loss of life; and then $1.1 million to the Black Dog Institute to work very closely with our people to provide avenues in other areas as well. The combination of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and Commonwealth and state government agencies has been an exemplary process in both those suicide roundtables, where people have come together, have shared knowledge, data, information and resources, and redesigned the way in which they provide support to those contemplating or affected by suicide.