SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
- TURNBULL TARGETS PEOPLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS -
Yesterday's mid-year budget update has exposed the Turnbull Government’s harsh decision to slash $141m over four years from mental health services.
Just this week the Prime Minister spoke of the economic cost of mental illness and argued that "we have a vital vested national interest in addressing it" yet he knew that at the same time he had approved $141m in cuts to the mental health system.
Yesterday's MYEFO says:
As a result of streamlining programmes, the Government will achieve savings of $141.0 million over four years from 1 July 2015. Savings for this measure have already been provided for by the Government and will contribute towards the related expense measure The Australian Government's Response to the National Ice Taskforce Final Report.
These are cuts that not even Tony Abbott or Joe Hockey could fathom.
Just three weeks after the Government announced their response to the mental health review many mental health services remain in a state of limbo about their future without any funding certainty beyond the next six months.
And as if funding uncertainty wasn't bad enough today these organisations, who provide much needed services for people with a mental illness, now have to worry about how and where these funding cuts will be made.
Today's decision by the Turnbull Government to slash funding from the mental health system is short-sighted and will put greater pressure on an already stretched system.
The Turnbull government must immediately come clean on exactly where these cuts will be made, what services will be cut and when these cuts will commence.
It's simply not fair to drop bad news like this at the end of the year and then leave the sector without any information.
If this is the way mental health reform is going to be run by this government then it's doomed before it even begins.
WEDNESDAY, 16 DECEMBER 2015