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    As I have flagged previously, I will be taking a break over the next six weeks.

  • Newsletters / Bulletins

    Today we are submitting our final submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into NDIS Costs. If you have been reading these updates regularly you will know that this has become something of an obsession for us, as arrangements of the psychosocial compenent of the NDIS have been so complex and fast moving, and the interface with the rest of the mental health system has been so poorly examined.

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    Not peer work alone, not peer work to replace other practitioners, not peer work to save money on wages, but peer workers with a set of skills and expertise to work alongside other mental health workers in a wide variety of settings.

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    For Australia’s mental health sector the saying ‘change is the only constant’ rings very true, and is likely to do so for some time yet. We’re all doing our best to strike the right balance between getting on with the important job at hand, while also responding to changes, and preparing for what we know, or hope, is likely to come.

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    The screens and newsfeeds we spend so much of our time and energy on seem to be replete with tragedy. It’s hard to imagine we could be more exposed to the daily hardships and disasters, large and small that afflict communities across the globe. Communities we are all part of in this globally connected world.

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    I was very pleased to see the Productivity Commission release its position paper on NDIS Costs this week. For a long time now we have been talking about the risk of the NDIS becoming an oasis in the middle of a desert, and it appears our analogy has been acknowledged and heard.

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    Good reports should carry weight and help drive policy, reform and eventually outcomes… And the recent release of the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health certainly has the opportunity to do just that. This UN Special Report lays out some very clear challenges to member states (including Australia), so I’ll let it speak for itself rather than interpret too much.

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    When it comes to raising issues and making recommendations to government about the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition, we’ve weighed in heavily from the very beginning. We’ve always said the NDIS has great potential to improve the lives of a relatively small population of people with psychosocial disability who have historically missed out on the supports they need to live contributing lives. But we’ve also recognised a range of policy and operational issues around its implementation that simply must be addressed, and appreciate being able to make recommendations for the right change. So just recently, when we were given another opportunity for input, we enthusiastically provided more detail around our recommendation for a much-needed recovery oriented philosophy to be incorporated into the assessment process for access to the NDIS.

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    Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, once said: “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” The “Eisenhower Principle” is said to be how he organized his workload and priorities.

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    Many of us commenced the week confronted by the CCTV footage of Miriam Merten in such a distressed and distressing state in one of our mental health facilities.

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