MHCA CEO's Weekly Update - 30 May

Mental Health Council of Australia Header

This Week

Disability Support Pension

Following our radio response to the Daily Telegraph’s appalling front-page coverage of Disability Support Pension numbers at the end of last week we had an article published on The Drum articulating our concerns (see link below). We have had a tremendous response from our members and other stakeholders and I thank all those who took the time to drop us a note.  We will be working hard on these issues in the months ahead, fighting for much needed reform that is based on facts rather than hysteria.
Read more

MHCA Board

The MHCA Board met via teleconference this week to discuss, amongst other things, the MHCA’s next input into the review of mental health being conducted by the National Mental Health Commission.  In the post-budget environment, and as we await the McClure review of social services and welfare arrangements there are many elements to consider.  We hope to have our next position paper available for public release quite soon.

Minister Dutton at the National Press Club

During the week I attended an address by the Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, where he outlined more of the government’s post-budget thinking on health policy.  During the presentation, which was very broad ranging, the Minister indicated that the transition from Medicare Locals to the new Primary Health Organisations would see “about 24” of the latter established.  This was the first indication that I had heard about how many organisations might exist once the reforms are implemented.  As Medicare Locals have had such a significant presence in programs like Partners in Recovery and ATAPS we will be keen to ensure that transitional arrangements do not undermine these important programs.


Today I spent some time with the Board of the Community Sector and Health Industry Skills Council discussing the future needs of the mental health workforce.  It was encouraging to discuss the role that peer workers will have to play in the mental health workforce of the future.

NDIS forum

On Monday our Director of Policy and Projects, Josh Fear, presented at a forum hosted by the WA Association for Mental Health on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The forum also heard from Eddie Bartnik about his role as special adviser to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Eddie will be advising the NDIA on three issues in particular:

  1. The architecture of the system of services and supports for Tier 2 NDIS participants (all participants, not just those with mental illness)
  2. Progressing priority actions in the mental health space
  3. Developing an effective system for local area coordination (again, across all disability types)

Those familiar with the NDIS might share the observation that many things will become clearer once we are able to better understand what services and supports will be available in future to participants in Tier 2. We are therefore delighted that Eddie is actively considering the Tier 2 question as a matter of priority.

Happiness and Mental Health

Our Communications Director, Chris Wagner, attended the Happiness and its Causes Conference this week. The MHCA is proud to be an endorsing body for this important annual event. One clear and consistent point coming from the speakers this year is that mental health and wellbeing has a direct impact on our happiness. Watch this space over the coming months for information about next year’s conference, featuring his Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Consumer and Carer Engagement

This morning Director of Consumer and Carer Programs, Kylie Wake, spoke to the Board of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses about engaging with people with lived experience of mental health issues. The MHCA provides support to several groups of national mental health consumer and carer representatives, including the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (the MHCA has a formal MOU with, and provides secretariat support to, the NMHCCF) and the National Register of Mental Health Consumer and Carer Representatives (an MHCA project). 

NMHCCF and National Register members have experience working as mental health consumer and carer representatives and receive training in a range of areas including leadership, advocacy, policy development and communication. If you are seeking a mental health consumer or carer representative for a national committee or project, please contact us by email or phone (02) 6285 3100, to discuss the process of identifying and engaging a suitable representative.

I also encourage you to visit and explore the NMHCCF’s website. The NMHCCF is the united, independent and national voice of mental health consumers and carers, and they do significant advocacy work, including the development of submissions, position statements and advocacy briefs on a range of topics.

Veterans’ Affairs Legislation

The MHCA welcomed the introduction of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Mental Health and other Measures) Bill 2014 to the House of Representatives yesterday.

The measures in the Bill will enable the expansion of mental health services for veterans and members of the Defence Force and their families as well as improvements to the operation of the Veterans’ Review Board and general administration.

From 1 July 2014, eligible ADF members will be able to access non-liability health care for the PTSD, anxiety and depressive disorders and the newly included conditions of alcohol and substance use disorders. The full details of the Bill can be viewed on the House of Representatives website.
More Info

New member welcome

The Board and staff of the MHCA welcomed another new Full Member this week, Relationships Australia. We look forward to working closely with the entire team at Relationships Australia over the coming months as they continue their wonderful work supporting children, adults, couples and families at times of crisis in their lives. If your organisation is interested in becoming a member of the MHCA, please visit our website for more information.
More info

Launch of Perspectives

We advised members this week that we will be launching a new bi-monthly online publication Perspectives in mid-June. Perspectives will give us the opportunity to explore some of the key issues facing the mental health system in more depth than is possible in this weekly update. Members have been invited to contribute content to the publication. If you would like to subscribe, please visit our website.
More info



Recognising qualified social workers

Our friends at the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) this week announced the introduction of a legally protected Collective Trade Mark. The trade mark is available for exclusive use by members of the AASW and instantly identifies and credentials them as degree level qualified professionals who are accountable to the AASW Code of Ethics. The AASW has two types of accredited trade marks, the Accredited Social Worker Trade Mark and the Accredited Mental Health Social Worker Trade Mark. For more information about this initiative please visit the AASW website. Read more

Intentional self-harm and suicidal behaviour in children

A reminder that the National Children’s Commissioner is examining how children and young people under 18 years can be better protected from intentional self-harm and suicidal behaviour. Submissions are being sought from interested individuals, government, private, and non-government organisations on the key issues. Submissions are due by Monday 2 June and full details are available on the website. Read more

Lifeline Stress Down Day - 25 July

This year’s Stress Down Day is being celebrated on Friday 25 July. A Lifeline initiative, Stress Down Day is a fun and easy way to reduce stress by encouraging us all to have a laugh. Lifeline have a list of activities that you can do on the day to help raise funds and reduce stress including hosting a morning tea, holding a worst dad joke competition or a team yoga session. Visit the website for more details. Download

Quarterly community forum

The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT will be holding their regular Quarterly Community Forum next Wednesday, 4 June at the University of Canberra. I will be addressing the forum that will be focussing on the NDIS. The forum is being held in conjunction with the MHCC ACT Conference that is being held on 4-5 June. For more details about these events please visit the website. Download

Heads Up campaign

A reminder about the launch of a campaign to support Australian businesses to create more mentally healthy workplaces. The Heads Up campaign is powered by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and beyondblue. You will hear more about this campaign in coming weeks but in the meantime please visit the website and sign up for more information. More Info

National Suicide Prevention Conference

Don’t forget to register for the upcoming National Suicide Prevention Conference, being held in Perth from 23-26 July. A range of pre-conference workshops are open to both delegates and non-delegates as well as a special session ‘Harnessing the voice of lived experience’ that will take place on day four of the Conference. Full details including registration information are available on the website. Read more

LGBTI Mental Health Conference

Registrations are still open for the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s MindOUT! Mental Health Conference, being held in Sydney from 26-27 June. With the theme Courageous Voices: Seeds of Hope and Transformation, the conference will focus on the enablers as well as the barriers that individuals encounter in coming to the point of being able to acknowledge and affirm their sexuality and/or gender identity. Full details are available on the website. More Info

ACOSS National Conference

The ACOSS National Conference is only two weeks away and registrations are open. The Conference has confirmed over sixty speakers who will be joined by hundreds of delegates to discuss the policy and practice needed to tackle poverty and inequality in Australia. The Conference will be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre from 11-12 June and more details are available from the ACOSS website. More Info

Warm regards


Frank Quinlan
Chief Executive Officer

T: 02 6285 3100  |  M: 0409 655 460
E:  |  W:


Mental health begins with Me!


Rate this article: 
Newsletter, consumers and carers, NDIS

© 2024 Mental Health Australia All rights reserved.