MHCA welcomes Productivity Commission Inquiry Announcement, August 2013

The Mental Health Council of Australia has today welcomed the Government’s support for a Productivity Commission Inquiry into the mental health system.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Senator Jacinta Collins, made the announcement this morning at The Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Conference in Melbourne.

The MHCA has been in discussions with the Government and the Coalition for some time about the terms of reference for a Productivity Commission Inquiry.

“A Productivity Commission Inquiry will help us to achieve a number of things,” MHCA CEO, Frank Quinlan said.

“First, it will help us to understand where current spending is most effective in reducing mental illness and promoting better mental health. This must include spending beyond clinical systems, into areas such as housing and employment services.

“Second, it will provide a strong rationale for investing in mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention. We know that building a more mentally healthy community will increase both workforce participation and productivity.

“Third, an inquiry like this should help to determine spending priorities across different parts of the sector including the investments made by governments across the country.”

The MHCA believes that the Productivity Commission should address issues such as:

  • Identifying the full range of costs of different types of mental illness, for consumers, their families and carers, government, business, and the community as a whole
  • Considering the potential economic and non-economic benefits of reduced discrimination, increased workforce and education participation, and increased community wellbeing
  • Considering the effectiveness of current investments in mental health and other related systems, and the nature and extent of met and unmet need
  • Identifying possible barriers to care for people with mental illness and their carers
  • Developing concrete plans for improving the efficiency of service delivery.

“We hope to see a bi-partisan commitment to this important step towards desperately needed reform,” Mr Quinlan said.

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