Productivity Commission Mental Health draft report and public hearings

On October 31 the Productivity Commission released its Draft Report for the ongoing Inquiry into Mental Health. The draft report and overview are available to view and download here.

The draft report has received positive reactions for its focus on putting mental health consumers and carers at the centre of reforms, for its suite of recommendations to strengthen supports, prevention and early intervention outside the health system, and for its recommendation that Australia commits to a new national agreement on mental health.

Under the proposed national agreement, the Commonwealth would maintain responsibility for MBS funded psychosocial supports and for service provided under the NDIS, but all other forms of psychosocial support would become the sole responsibility of states and territories.

The Commission recommends expansion of existing MBS service provision under the Better Access Initiative. However, the report falls short of recommending an expansion of the current suite of providers, and instead recommends an expansion of the number of counselling session available under the scheme, and additional items for service provisions by psychologists.

Mental Health Australia has conducted a detailed preliminary analysis of the draft report, which is available here.

The Productivity Commission is continuing to conduct public hearings across Australia, and a two day hearing is currently underway in Melbourne. PACAFA is attending and monitoring the Melbourne hearings, and all hearing in capital cities are being live-streamed.

Upcoming hearings are:

  • Geraldton, WA – Wednesday 20 November 2019
  • Perth, WA – Thursday 21 November 2019 (Observers only)
  • Sydney, NSW – Monday 25 November 2019 (Observers only)
  • Sydney, NSW – Tuesday 26 November 2019 (Observers only)
  • Broken Hill, NSW – Thursday 28 November 2019
  • Rockhampton, Qld – Monday 2 December 2019
  • Brisbane, Qld – Tuesday 3 December 2019 (Observers only)
  • Launceston, Tas – Monday 9 December 2019

To register to attend a hearing, to read the outcomes of past hearings, or to watch a live stream, go to: https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/mental-health/public-hearings

PACFA and our ARCAP partner, the ACA, made an initial submission to the Productivity Commission in May, which is available to view and download on the PACFA website. We will be making a submission in response to the draft report. Submissions are due by 23 January 2020, and PACFA will keep all members informed of our ongoing advocacy and contributions to this important review of the impact of mental health in Australia.