Mental Health Australia Submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Extent of Income Inequality in Australia

This submission outlines what Mental Health Australia believes are some of the key impacts of income inequality in Australia on the health, housing and employment outcomes of people with lived experience of mental illness and carers; including:

  • The impact of ‘gap payments’ and other out-of-pocket costs on the ability of people to access the health and mental health services that they need in a timely manner;
  • The flow-on effects of not being able to access early intervention services and presenting to higher cost clinical settings later on, on both people and health budgets;
  • The impact of locational and geospatial socioeconomic disadvantage on the ability of people to access health services (including mental health);
  • Constraints on housing choices available to mental health consumers as a result of declining investment in social housing and the failure of Commonwealth Rent Assistance to keep pace with median weekly rental increases;
  • The need to increase participation in paid work by people with lived experience of mental illness and some practical measures that could help to achieve this;
  • Some proposals to lift social security payments to ensure they are adequate to meet the costs of living, including increased costs associated with economic participation, living with mental illness or disability and caring; and 
  • Some commentary on recent budget measures that if adopted could serve to worsen income inequality and health and wellbeing outcomes.
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consumers and carers, mental health, submission, welfare