CEO Update - The case for change is building, and quickly

The case for change is building, and quickly

Less than a week away from the Federal Budget and I thought it was a fitting time to look at just how far the mental health sector has come in the last 12 months.

Last year, our expectations for the Budget were not very high, and we were not expecting many mental health specific initiatives from the 2016 Budget.  As we now know, that is how the night panned out.

With reforms underway in the NDIS and through PHNs, we did not think it was likely new investments would be made in the 2016 Budget – which was always going to be about controlling spending, fiscal responsibility and “Budget Repair”.

From there our attention quickly turned to the impending election campaign and to seeking commitments from all the major parties and candidates to ensure mental health was high on the agenda of the post-election government. And as we know, mental health became a key topic in the final weeks of the election campaign.

Now, 12 months on, with the structural reforms of the NDIS and PHNs in place, we now have a much stronger platform from which to advocate at a national level.

It is clear that as a sector we are starting to be heard at the federal level, and while we’re not expecting dramatic change to be announced on Tuesday, the case for change is building, and quickly.  

To increase the momentum we’ve established at a national level with politicians of all persuasions, we need to continue to advocate successful solutions, simultaneously paying attention at the state and territory level. We all know the solution to mental health reform, and mentally healthy communities, requires both Commonwealth and State and Territory engagement, investment and monitoring, and our united voice at all levels will only increase the pace of change and reform.

Yesterday, our pre-Budget media release on mental health reform was titled – “we all know what needs to be done”. The key components of that release are to urgently address the gaps, adopt the right national plan, reorientate and increase long term funding, and empower consumers and carers.

Twelve months on from now, there’s every chance that we could have created a big dent in all four of these issues… and that’s the change we need to influence and progress.

Warm regards 

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