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Crossbench backs Greens stance on mental health

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 26 Nov 2010

The Australian Greens have welcomed the support given by the Lower House independents, bar Bob Katter, to their call for a comprehensive approach to mental health funding.

Greens Mental Health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert said the group (Tony Crook, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie) joined Greens MP Adam Bandt and voted yesterday in favour of providing mental health funding and investment in a range of desperately needed services which were not covered by the Coalition’s motion on mental health.

“Despite our approaches to the Coalition they were unwilling to agree to these changes. We would have liked a more collaborative approach on this issue,” Senator Siewert said today.

“This is an important issue that should stand above political partisanship and point-scoring.

“The Greens have consistently supported the headspace and EPPIC programs, but made it clear that funding was essential in a number of other important areas. “This includes funding for primary healthcare programs to target those in need, the vulnerable and long-term clientele, working with the community and NGO sector.

“We’re also supporting the provision of alternatives to emergency department treatment, such as multidisciplinary community-based subacute services that support ‘stepped’ prevention and recovery care.

“Our mental health amendments also looked to establish a national network of one-stop shop community mental health centres; providing additional training for GPs and nurses to triage mental health and respite treatment and primary healthcare programs. “We have suggested a special commission for mental health because we believe this issue is so significant that such a move is appropriate.

“The Greens will continue to pursue increased funding for mental health. “What we need to do now is see the government’s commitment to mental health, and we need to see their investment,” Senator Siewert concluded.

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