The Australian Greens say more of the Federal Government’s confirmed $274 million investment in a suicide prevention package should be utilised immediately to address urgent needs in Aboriginal communities, with just $8.1 million of the funding committed for the current financial year.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson for Mental Health says that while the Government’s commitment- which was welcomed by the Minister for Mental Health following the release of today’s Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook- was a positive step, there are immediate concerns in a number of Aboriginal communities about the number of people taking their own lives.
“I’m concerned that the Government isn’t responding quickly enough to the issues in northern Australia’s Aboriginal communities where there have been a spate of recent suicides. In addition I’m hearing of serious substance abuse happening in a number of communities which also needs some urgent resourcing” Senator Siewert said today.
“The recent spike in the number of Aboriginal people taking their own lives is a clear sign that the Government must prioritise services in this area.
“The Government’s appointment of a Mental Health Minister, and the dedicated provision of funds for suicide prevention are very welcome, but it is also important to recognise that there are serious mental health needs as we speak which are not being met.
“There have been numerous reports over the past two months about the disturbing number of young Aboriginal people taking their own lives.
“The ongoing loss of life is an absolute tragedy, and it must lead to immediate action,” Senator Siewert concluded.