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Govt misses opportunity to boost mental health, but Greens decide to back Private Health Bills

Media Release
Bob Brown 24 Feb 2010

Having previously opposed the Medicare Levy Surcharge, the Greens have now decided to support both it and the Private Health Insurance Rebate legislation.

The Greens will support the legislation which would see $1.9 billion directed to public hospitals, despite the Government rejecting a proposal that would have given a $145 million boost to early intervention mental health services.

"The Greens wholeheartedly support delivering over four years $1.9 billion of desperately needed funding for public hospitals and we will not stand in the way of legislation to do this," said Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown.

"But in rejecting our proposal, the Government has missed a huge opportunity to provide vital money for mental health services.

"$145 million would make a huge impact in the areas of early intervention and community mental health services that help keep people out of hospital.

"The Greens are supporting the passage of this legislation because we seek to maximise the delivery of public health money and we are here to represent the best interests of the Australian community," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The Greens will continue to promote sensible and constructive action with our proposals to break Senate deadlock on major issues like this, the stimulus package, climate change and Youth Allowance."

Media contacts:

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Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302

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