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From the CEO, Mental Health Australia

 

Mental Health Australia Parliamentary Advocacy Day
Thursday 23 March - Parliament House, Canberra

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Happy New Year and I hope you managed a restful and relaxing break with family and friends.

A new year provides us with new challenges and now a new Minister for Health as well, in The Hon Greg Hunt MP.

I have written to Minister Hunt today to congratulate him on his appointment and to also highlight the urgency we face around mental health reform and decisions that cannot wait.

The letter, which is attached, follows on from our joint letter to the Prime Minister and First Ministers sent late last year, regarding shortcomings in the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

As we all know, there is much to do to secure real reform for the mental health sector, and as such we would like to invite you to participate in our Parliamentary Advocacy Day at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 23 March. Your input on this day will be invaluable and will help us push for real reform.

This year, with far reaching reforms such as the regionalisation of planning and commissioning through Primary Health Networks, and the ongoing roll out of the NDIS now underway, many questions need to be asked and challenges remain:

  • How can the expansion of community based mental health services, recommended by the National Mental Health Commission and recognised as a priority by all governments, be progressed?
  • How can we manage the interface between the NDIS and other programs providing psychosocial support for people who experience mental illness?
  • How can we ensure that the implementation of “stepped care” does not inadvertently create gaps in services, especially for people with severe mental illness?
  • With roles and responsibilities between the Commonwealth and states/territories still unclear, how can we avoid negative unintended consequences during a period of unprecedented reform?

With the process of budget deliberations still occurring, the Parliamentary Advocacy Day provides a unique opportunity to speak directly with representatives of all persuasions to provide them with a united message about the need to commit to long-term reform in the mental health sector.

Mental Health Australia’s first Parliamentary Advocacy Day in 2015 was a huge success, with more than 80 delegates meeting with some 40 members and senators, including the Minister for Health.

To join us for this year’s Parliamentary Advocacy Day on March 23, and or our Members Dinner on the evening of March 22, please email Lachlan.Searle@mhaustralia.org to register your interest.

And as always, if you would like to speak with me directly about this matter or any others, please feel free to contact our office on 02 6285 3100.

I look forward to seeing you in March, and delivering a united message of what real mental health reform looks like.

Warm regards 
Frank


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer
T: 02 6285 3100
M: 0409 655 460
E: frank.quinlan@mhaustralia.org

 

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