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PACFA supports campaign for mental health reform

PACFA has joined the mental health sector in calling for the Prime Minister and First Ministers to urgently implement the changes COAG agreed to in 2012, and commit to fixing the mental health system. These commitments included the adoption of clear targets and indicators for improving mental health outcomes as well as a fully developed and funded national agreement on mental health reform.

Ahead of the COAG Leaders Retreat on 22 July, PACFA signed a joint letter to Australia’s First Ministers calling for a decisive action on reform.

The joint letter is available for download at the PACFA website.

The Government appears to be delaying action on mental health as there has been a further delay of eight months since the National Mental Health Commission handed down its review findings and still no recommendations have been implemented. PACFA believes we have waited too long for mental health reform. The system is in crisis right now, and we need action; not after the next budget, not after the next election, but starting now with a commitment from our leaders.

In its submission to the Mental Health Commission review, PACFA identified some actions that could be taken immediately to begin addressing failings in the mental health system. These were also highlighted in our recent lobbying efforts in Canberra in a meeting with the Minister for Health, the Hon Sussan Ley.

From the recent report by the National Mental Health Commission and the subsequent announcement of a Mental Health Expert Reference Group (ERG), to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Federation White Paper process, the case for urgent reform is clear.

PACFA agrees with the recent comments by the Federal Health Minister when she said Australia needs a ‘national’, ‘coordinated’ and ‘binding’ agreement on real and meaningful mental health reform. It must be signed by all Australian governments with implementation commencing in 2015.