MHCA CEO's Weekly Update - 18 July

Mental Health Council of Australia Header

This Week

DSS Funding

Like many across the sector, we have been working this week to develop a number of proposals for funding under the current DSS funding round.  It seems apparent that the Department is looking for collaborative approaches, and that the status quo of current funding arrangements is unlikely to remain.  We hope that our work with various groups might also mean that other organisations are thinking more about how mental health can be addressed as part of their bids.

Effective Lobbying

On Wednesday I was invited to present to the Associations Forum National Conference to be part of a Panel discussion titled ‘Lobbying: being an Effective Voice for Members’. This was a unique opportunity to discuss ways that the NGO sector can create positive outcomes for our members and influence the right people with effective lobbying.

In short, I discussed the need for organisations to work together, to deliver policy solutions to government, and to work for the long term without taking a single side.  Good policy will be taken up by anyone across the political spectrum.  I also talked about an approach that allows robust criticism when required, but without burning long term relationships. 
More Info

Consumer Reference Group

Today I am in Canberra meeting with the Consumer Reference Group on the establishment of a new Consumer Peak Organisation to give voice to mental health consumers.  There have been many challenges along the way but the project continues to make good progress.
More Info

McClure Review Panel

Last  Friday, Emily Clay, Manager, Policy and Projects, attended a roundtable hosted by the Department of Social Services, to discuss welfare reform with the McClure Review Panel and other community organisations.  It was a constructive discussion, canvassing the need to uphold fairness and safety nets in the system architecture, issues with requiring permanency and no work capacity to be eligible for the Disability Support Pension DSP, and lessons that could be learned from the New Zealand investment model.  
More Info

MHCA Welfare System Survey

We have already had a great response to our request for people to come forward and share their stories of how they experienced the income support system.  I would encourage you to tell your story if you have not already done so, or to pass the link on to others who may wish to tell their story. (see the link below)

Submissions in response to the Review’s interim report close on 8 August 2014.
More Info

Health Reform Summit

On Tuesday, Emily attended the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance’s 2014 Health Reform Summit here in Canberra.  A variety of perspectives were presented, including the political context, the economic case for maintaining health expenditure, the importance of treatment quality and safety, the social determinants of health, and the potential roles for the private sector, governments and community organisations going forward. ​
More Info



Speak Your Mind at ABC Open

Not normal is the new normal. Issues around mental health affect us all and the ABC would like to hear your stories. With one in five Australians experiencing mental health issues each year, it’s vital that personal stories of survival and resilience are told. Write a story about your own experience or someone you care about. Download

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) collects information on alcohol and tobacco consumption, and illicit drug use among the general population in Australia. Key findings including reductions in the rate of smoking, drinking and some illegal drugs; while misuse of pharmaceuticals and use of meth amphetamine increased.  Download

2014 Peter Karmel Lecture - video recording

Despite two decades of investment in improving mental health services, the mental health of Australians has not improved. This lecture argues that we have used a one-pronged approach to improving mental health, where a two-pronged one is required. The video recording of the 2014 Peter Karmel Lecture by Professor Anthony Jorm is now available on the Academy website. Download

Homelessness among Indigenous Australians

Two reports from the Institute of Health and Welfare exploring the rate of homelessness and Housing assistance among Indigenous Australians has been released. On Census night in 2011, there were an estimated 26,743 Indigenous people experiencing homelessness, comprising 28% of the total homeless population. Download

Indigenous households were 6 times as likely as other Australian households to live in social housing, with an estimated 31% of Indigenous households living in such housing in 2013. Download

The Wellness Show

A unique new expo will be launched next year - The Wellness Show – to be held in Sydney over 10-11 June 2015. This expo will showcase innovation, opportunities and technology currently transforming health and wellbeing in the workplace, health care, aged care, mental health, education and business. The Wellness Show is part of the 10th anniversary celebrations for the Happiness & Its Causes conference, the world’s leading conference on human happiness and wellbeing.  Download

DIG Festival plenary

A panel titled ‘Embracing a digital paradigm when communicating online about mental health’ will be held at the DIG Festival on October 17 in Newcastle. Both media and the mental health sectors in Australia have embraced the digital age to reach wider and targeted audiences. Many media organisations, individual journalists and mental health agencies, now have a major presence on social media in a relatively short period and, in some cases, leading the way internationally.  This panel session will explore the sophisticated use of digital technology in communicating and engaging about mental health issues, and the opportunities and challenges online environments bring for organisations and communities. Download

Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference

Impacts of the new work for the dole, employment and welfare programs will be discussed at the upcoming Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference held on the Gold Coast, 18-19 August, 2014. This conference will address the causes and programs needed to provide opportunities for at risk groups: Disability, Mature Age, Youth, Indigenous and Regional Unemployed.  It will focus on “Building Capability” to create employment in the future with over 50 presentations on research, policy, programs and case studies.​ Read More

2014 TheMHS Conference

TheMHS conference in 2014 will be a vehicle to challenge and shift attitudes about mental health issues held 26-29 August in Perth. It will be an interactive, stimulating and creative environment to enjoy, participate, learn and share. Attracting over 1000 mental health clinicians, managers, consumers, carers/families, researchers, cultural and indigenous workers, educators and policy makers annually, the MHS conferences wants participants to return home with enthusiasm and energy to share new understandings and to contribute to mentally healthy communities. Download

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer
T: 02 6285 3100  |  M: 0409 655 460
E:  |  W:


Rate this article: 


Newsletter, welfare reform, consumer peak