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Statement regarding National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services

14 April 2015

The National Mental Health Commission today welcomed the announcement by the Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley on the need for strong partnerships between the Commonwealth and the states and territories to address serious mental health issues in this country over the long term.

"While the Review Report has not yet been formally released, the Commission considers that there should be no reduction in Commonwealth money going in to states and territories. However, better coordination and more efficient use of expenditure is needed to help achieve better outcomes for individuals, families, communities and the Australian economy,” Commission Chair Prof. Allan Fels said.

"Redirecting Commonwealth funding over time from growth in hospital funding to community and primary health care is consistent with directions presented in mental health reviews and reports over the past 40 years. This could commence in two years’ time to allow for adequate planning.

"The aim is to put additional funds into services which keep people out of hospital, take the pressure off state and territory hospitals and emergency departments, keep people in their homes with their families and other support people, enable them to lead contributing lives and maximise value for taxpayers.

"Part of this includes working with the states and territories to better coordinate roles and funding arrangements in mental health and suicide prevention, but certainly not to reduce the part the states and territories play.

"We are confident that when the Government releases the full report there will be an opportunity for government and mental health experts to work together to improve the lives of millions of Australians," Prof. Allan Fels said.

"Even the most disadvantaged Australians should be able to lead a 'contributing life,' whatever that means for them and this simple goal will be our touchstone and yardstick."

Chair Prof Allan Fels AO
National Mental Health Commission

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