18 August 2020

Labor welcomes todays funding commitment from the Government for additional Victorian mental health services.

Concerning data from Victoria last week showed the real impact this virus is already having on mental health through hospital presentation figures.

But the mental health crisis doesnt stop at the Murray River, and the Government is sitting on the blueprint to properly fund and structure mental health in Australia, including the best response to the COVID health emergency.

In June, the Government were handed the Productivity Commissions final report on mental health.

For nearly two months Labor have called for the Government to release the report so that a proper response can be included in the October Budget.

Australians, and especially Victorians in their current crisis, deserve for the Government to urgently fund comprehensive mental health policy in Australia.

The Productivity Commission report gives Australia a chance to reform policy across education, housing, the workplace and the justice and health systems to address better mental health for all Australians.

Mental health must be a priority during the COVID health emergency, as Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt promised it would be.

Which is why Labor also calls on the Government to extend the Medicare funded sessions available under mental health treatment plans from 10 to 20 across Australia.

Under the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the Government is required to table the report in each House of the Parliament within 25 sitting days of receipt.

Due to the Governments suspension of Parliament, there are now only eightsitting days in the House of the Parliament before Budget night.

We urge Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt to release this report as a priority so consultation on a response can start with the sector.

Labor acknowledges the bipartisan commitment to addressing better mental health for Australians, which includes encouraging the Government to make this important report public.