Community Affairs Committee
Wednesday 15 February 2012
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you for your attendance today. Good afternoon. First of all I would like to ask you some questions about the Ten Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform. What consultation was conducted as part of the lead-up and process in drafting the Ten Year Road Map for National Mental Health Reform?
Ms Campion: A range of consultation has occurred on the roadmap, including a workshop convened by the Mental Health Council of Australia in September last year, where there were around 60 attendees, including the minister. Two rounds of targeted consultation with experts were undertaken by the department. The minister has also undertaken a range of stakeholder consultations. States and territories have, in addition, undertaken their consultations. In the middle of January this year we released an online survey inviting comment and feedback on the draft road map, as well as submissions.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you. When did the two rounds of targeted consultations with the experts occur?
Mr Singh: They occurred in the second half of last year. I do not have the exact dates but I am happy to get those for you, if you wish.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you; I would appreciate that. Were they two occasions? When you say 'rounds', what do you mean by that?
Mr Singh: There were two occasions with the same individuals.
Senator WRIGHT: Did they meet together? Was it like a roundtable—something to that effect?
Mr Singh: We provided them with the current draft and we invited their feedback. On both occasions we also facilitated a discussion by teleconference.
Senator WRIGHT: They were shown a draft of the roadmap at the time for those two targeted consultations?
Mr Singh: That is correct.
Senator WRIGHT: You said you also had some consultation with stakeholders. Could you tell me what that involved?
Mr Singh: The drafting process of the roadmap has been informed by the consultations that Minister Butler undertook with mental health consumers in late 2010.
Senator WRIGHT: How did that pan out?
Mr Singh: There were 14 face-to-face forums and an electronic opportunity which focused on consultation with young people.
Senator WRIGHT: Would you take on notice details of what those forums were and who attended them?
Mr Singh: Certainly.
Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Could you add to that who issued the invitations and how many forums were held, if I could combine that?
Senator WRIGHT: That sort of detail would be useful. I am talking about the consultation process up to the release of the draft roadmap at this stage. Over what period would you say that consultation occurred?
Mr Singh: The initial consultations helped set the directions for mental health reform, and those are the 14 sessions that I alluded to. They started in December 2010. The drafting process formally commenced in about May 2011. Since that time we have been undergoing the other processes that we mentioned—the two rounds of targeted consultations, state and territory consultations, and now the public consultation, as well as the workshop.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you. The questions I have already put on notice will give me an answer to my question: what organisations and individuals were consulted before releasing the draft Ten Year Roadmap? That is essentially what I have asked. How many submissions to the online surveys were received in response to the draft Ten Year Roadmap before the submission period closed on 1 February?
Ms Campion: We received over 1,600 responses to the survey and over 100 formal submissions.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you. How does the government intend to respond to this consultation process now?
Mr Singh: We are working through those submissions and the comments. Obviously, we have collected a substantial amount of feedback and we will be working through that with the states and territories to inform the finalisation of the document.
Senator WRIGHT: What is the time line for the response?
Mr Singh: We really could not say at the moment. We need to work through those comments and decide what sorts of changes need to be made.
Senator WRIGHT: No possibility of giving me an idea of a year or six months?
Ms Campion: It will be later this year, but we do not have a specific time frame.
Senator WRIGHT: Later this year is as specific as you can be at this stage?
Ms Campion: Yes.
Ms Halton: As soon as we can, I think, is the short answer.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you—when it is totally open-ended, I have no idea. Has the new National Mental Health Commission been involved in drafting the Ten Year Roadmap up to now and, if not, will it be involved in the finalisation of the Ten Year Roadmap?
Mr Singh: They have been consulted in the drafting and it would certainly be our intention to involve them from here.
Senator WRIGHT: How would you envisage that occurring?
Mr Singh: Once again, we would provide them with a draft. At the most recent meeting of the Senior Officials Mental Health Working Group, members discussed having a roundtable with the commission to help inform wide community scrutiny of the document.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you. My last question on the roadmap is: will the new National Mental Health Commission oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Ten Year Roadmap?
Mr Singh: The government has said that the commission will have a role in evaluating and monitoring the roadmap. I think that the exact nature of that work has not yet been decided.
Senator WRIGHT: Thank you.
In the Supplementary Budget Estimates week, Penny Wright asked the Department of Health and Aging questions relating to the following mental health issues. Click on the links below to read the transcripts.