Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee
20 November, 2013
Senator WRIGHT: When will the next rollout of Partners in Recovery occur?
Ms Campion: As you know, we have organisations in 48 regions under contract currently. There are 13 regions for which we do not currently have organisations established. As you are aware, the government has applied additional scrutiny to uncommitted discretionary funding and, in addition, has committed to a review of Medicare Locals and has also committed to asking the Mental Health Commission to undertake a review of existing mental health programs. Given that the Partners in Recovery program represents a significant investment, decisions in relation to those 13 remaining regions are being considered in the context of those proposed reviews.
Senator WRIGHT: Given that many areas were not successful in the first round, if there is not a second round or if those areas were to be unsuccessful again, would that then mean that some regions would simply miss out on accessing services under the Partners in Recovery program.
Prof. Halton: We cannot answer that question yet. As the officer has indicated, there are a series of processes underway at the moment, which the minister has indicated, in terms of having a review. So we cannot yet answer questions about what will happen in the future.
Senator WRIGHT: But that would be the result, wouldn't it?
Prof. Halton: Again, we cannot answer the question.
Senator WRIGHT: It is a logical result that if they were not successful, there is no second round or they are unsuccessful again and it is not continued then they would miss out.
Senator Nash: Senator, you are making an assumption. The secretary has been very clear that there is a process of review ongoing and at this stage we cannot give you any further information.
Senator WRIGHT: Will Partners in Recovery be funded for future contracts beyond the ones that are in place, or will the money be given to the ones that are in place now, or will the money be redirected to the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
Prof. Halton: Again, we cannot answer that question.
Senator WRIGHT: Okay, thank you. What are the implications of Medicare Locals for the Partners in Recovery program and other mental health initiatives? Can you answer that question at this stage?
Prof. Halton: No. The officer has taken you through the process of review. When those processes are complete and the government has considered that and made a decision, we will certainly be in a position to answer questions.
Senator WRIGHT: Is there any indication of when that decision may be able to be made? You would appreciate that there are a lot of people who are very interested in knowing that.
Prof. Halton: Yes. As yet, there is not an announced timetable.