GOVERNMENT MUST IMMEDIATELY END THE UNCERTAINTY ON MENTAL HEALTH REFORMS

The Turnbull Government must end the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the mental health reforms announced in November last year.

Four months on since the Government announced the reforms to much fanfare, mental health consumers and service providers are without any idea on what happens when current funding expires on June 30th this year.

The Government wrote to mental health services in December advising them that their funding would expire on June 30th and that they would be advised of future funding arrangements.

This hasn't happened and its leaving thousands of mental health consumers worried about where they will go for treatment when contracts expire and leaving thousands of staff without any idea of whether they will have a job on 1st July.

With only 14 weeks until funding runs out, mental health services will have to start winding down their organisations including providing notice to staff under their employment agreements.

Time is running out for the Government or their provider to start a tender process, evaluate the tenders and have new arrangements in place for the start July.

Whilst Labor is generally supportive of the direction of the mental health reform agenda the information and communication on the implementation process has fallen well short and it is causing unfair and avoidable stress for those living with a mental illness and right across the mental health sector.

The Minister For Health must immediately clarify where the reform process is up to and let service providers know exactly what will happen when contracts expire and most importantly how service continuity will be guaranteed for people living with a mental illness in the meantime.

THURSDAY, 17 MARCH 2016

Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations