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Government picks up Green mental health initiatives

A number of key mental health initiatives instigated by the Australian Greens have been included in the Federal Government’s new mental health spend.

“The Greens took a comprehensive mental health plan to the last election, an approach which was not adopted at the time by the Government or Coalition. So to have this comprehensive package on the table is a very positive development for the sector,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens health spokesperson said after tonight’s budget announcement.

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Abbott’s mental health plan contradictory

Mr Abbott needs to decide whether he is going to be tough on welfare recipients or take a genuine caring approach the Australian Greens said today.

The Australian Greens have questioned the Coalition’s mental health policy, saying newly announced measures are clearly at odds with their intended welfare reforms. Just a couple of weeks ago we had Mr Abbott saying we need to get tough on those on welfare, some of the very same people he is championing this week in his mental health plan.

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Indigenous Suicide Prevention

Community Affairs 25 February 2011

Senator SIEWERT—Can I move to the Indigenous suicide prevention strategy please? We talked about this at the last estimates.

Senator SIEWERT—Can we turn to the development of the strategy please. Has any progress been made? The government made a commitment in response to this committee’s report on suicide. One of our recommendations, as you know, was the development of a specific Indigenous suicide prevention strategy, and the government committed its response to do that. Firstly, where we are at with that?

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Indigenous Suicide in the Kimberley

Community Affairs Committee – Friday 25 February 2011

Senator SIEWERT—Last time we were here we talked about some suicides in the Kimberley and unfortunately there have been some more, to the point where people over there are calling it a crisis. What action is the department and the Commonwealth taking to assist Western Australia to get some more resources on the ground to deal with this specific issue now?

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Greens commend fast-tracking of aid for Kimberley suicide crisis

The Australian Greens are pleased with the Government’s decision to fast track mental health funding to assist communities being affected by a spate of suicides among young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.

In response to Senate Estimates questions today from Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal Issues, the Department of Health confirmed that some of the $274 million Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package would be fast tracked to address urgent needs in the region.

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Access to Allied Psychological Services

Community Affairs 23 February 2011

Senator SIEWERT—I wish to go back to the Access to Allied Psychological Services flexible care packages. With respect to the discussion paper, I have had some concerns raised with me about the time that has been allocated for the comments and consultation process with stakeholders. Have you had that reflected back to you as well?

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Greens call for Federal support for Kimberley communities affected by suicides

The Australian Greens are calling for Federal support for communities in the Kimberley after a spate of Indigenous youth suicides.

“There is an urgent need to ensure that there are on-the-ground counselling and support services to help during the current youth suicide crisis,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Aboriginal Issues spokesperson said today.

“We welcome the fact that the Federal Government has committed to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy in response to the Senate Inquiry into Suicide in Australia.

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Joint Press Conference - Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, and Greens health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert – in Canberra today

Senator Bob Brown and Senator Rachel Siewert urge state and federal leaders to boost mental health services and work towards a national, universal public dental care scheme.

Senator Brown also vows to take on Rio Tinto, whose profit bonanza will benefit its more than 70-percent foreign shareholders, and other heavyweights as companies prepare to fight efforts to develop an alternative to coal and the Greens’ push to put an effective price on carbon.

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