FourFourSeconds ago, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to help charities that work with people with mental illness.
But a recent review of charities found they had been effectively stripped of funding.
Now, the Government has announced it will scrap the Mental Health Commission for Good and the Mental Illness Australia Network (MIAAN), which was supposed to be a key part of the government’s response to mental illness, saying it was in disrepair.”MHAAN has been in disarray for over a year, and this Government is determined to put a fresh face on the organisation and bring a fresh vision to its future,” Ms Gillard said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I’m announcing the scrapping of the MHAAN and the MIAAN to provide better support for those charities in need.”
The MHA and MIAAN have long been targets of Labor and the Greens, who have long accused them of ignoring mental health issues.
Ms Gillard also announced an independent review of the national mental health strategy (NHS) that will look at “how to move beyond the current focus on mental health”.
She said it would also examine “the way we approach mental health and the impact that stigma and discrimination has on our communities”.
In an interview on ABC Radio, Mr Abbott said the Government was looking at ways to increase funding for charities, but he said the current model was “totally inadequate”.
“We have a system in Australia that’s failing us,” he said.
“The Mental Health Act needs to be changed.
It needs to recognise that it’s a mental health issue and not a criminal issue.”
We need to see the government step in and help the charities, to do that we need to take some money from the private sector.
“He said charities needed to focus on the community, not just on their funding.”
That’s what the Government is really focused on, getting money to the community,” he told the ABC.”
So they’re going to give a boost to community charities.
“But what we’re doing is we’re going back to where the funding for mental health is currently going, the way it’s been since the 1970s, to a time when we were not paying for it at all.”
Ms Gillards response is likely to fuel further debate on mental illness in Australia.
It comes as the Government says it is working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and the public’s perception of mental health.
Earlier this year, it announced $30 million for a new national mental wellbeing strategy.
The Coalition said it was creating an independent commission to “improve the mental health services” and create a new “maintainer of public confidence”.
The Prime Minister said this week the Government would not allow a single mental health charity to close.
But she also said the existing system was “broken”.
The ABC has contacted Ms Gillards office for comment.
Topics:government-and-politics,health,mental-health,community-and.-society,mental,federal—state-issues,government-parliament,february-election,australiaFirst posted February 20, 2020 07:39:34Contact Amy McLeodMore stories from New South Wales