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Mental health misses out

Media Release
Penny Wright 11 May 2012

The Government should be building on its commitment to mental health as there remains significant unmet need for essential services, especially in rural areas, Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, said today.

“On Budget night on Tuesday, mental health looked like poor Cinderella not invited to the ball,” Senator Wright said.

“While we acknowledge that the Government made an important funding commitment to mental health in last year’s budget, it has not taken the opportunity to build on this to move to transforming a long-neglected poor relation into an equal member of the health family this year.

“It was especially disappointing to see that the Mental Health Nurses Incentive Program has been capped at $17.6 million over two years, which the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses has predicted will not be sufficient to maintain the operation of this vital service beyond December this year.

“This program makes an important contribution to the mental health workforce, especially in rural areas, where the gaps in service delivery for people experiencing mental illness are most pronounced.

“In her budget reply speech last night, Senator Milne highlighted these service gaps.

“The Australian Greens encourage the Government to build on its investment in mental health as there remains much unmet need in mental health services.”

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