Beyond Blue welcomes the 2017 Budget’s mental health and suicide prevention measures.
“These represent solid investments in areas of great need at a time of fiscal austerity,” said Beyond Blue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC.
Mr Kennett commended Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, for responding swiftly to concerns raised by Beyond Blue and others in the mental sector about increasing gaps in community-based psychosocial services with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Mr Kennett called on state and territory governments to match the Federal contribution announced in last night’s Budget of $80 million over four years.
“The NDIS is a visionary initiative and one of the great reforms of our time,” Mr Kennett said. “However, it must be managed prudently and compassionately for the on-going support of those for whom it was originally intended.
“As we have previously stated, we need a healthy NDIS for those with a longer term psychological disability that works alongside an effective mental health service system.
“The Government’s investment of $80 million to help fill this gap is responsive and responsible and we urge states and territories to also contribute to making a difference to the lives of Australians and their families affected by mental illness, who are not eligible for the individualised care packages offered by the NDIS.”
Beyond Blue – as Australia’s national depression and anxiety initiative – also congratulated the Government on the $5 million investment in a new Centre for Research Excellence in the Prevention of Depression and Anxiety – alongside other investments in mental health research.
“We congratulate our colleagues at Black Dog Institute and the Hunter Institute for Mental Health who will partner in this Centre and look forward to working collaboratively with them and turning that research into practical action to support the three million Australians who each year are affected by these conditions,” Mr Kennett said.
“The measures to prevent suicide, to improve access to psychological services for people living in regional areas through telehealth, and the package to support our veteran community are also laudable.”