11 December 2020

Mental health is an urgent national priority. But instead of action, we get more talk from the Morrison Government.

Instead of responding to the Productivity Commission report into mental health, Scott Morrison has set up a parliamentary committee to consider it.

Scott Morrison must not use his new Joint Select Committee on Mental Health as an excuse for further delay on this urgent national priority.

The Health Minister has previously promised to respond to the PC review in next Mays Budget. He needs to hold to that commitment.

Australia faces a mental health crisis. Each and every year, one in five Australians experiences mental ill-health, and tragically there are more than 3300 deaths by suicide.

This crisis has only been exacerbated by COVID-19 and its economic impacts.

Since 2013, there have been at least 58 inquiries and reviews related to mental health, including the Productivity Commissions report this June.

We dont need another inquiry.
We need urgent action now.

Labor was informed of the Governments Joint Select Committee but was not consulted on the Committee.

Had we been consulted, we would have argued strongly against further delay.

The Committee is not due to report until November 2021 - 17 months after the Productivity Commissions final report, two years after its interim report and three years after the Government established the inquiry.

While Labor will participate constructively in the Committee, Australians cant wait another year for serious action on mental health.

Serious mental health reformmust start now.