Federal Budget 2017 – 2018
WayAhead is pleased with the focus mental health has in this year’s federal budget.
In particular there are nine budget items we feel will improve Australia’s mental health sector and better serve people living with a mental health condition.
- WayAhead welcomes the $11M investment of suicide prevention initiatives in known hotspots. We know prevention is successful at reducing the number of suicides.
- Securing the NDIS is an incredibly important policy outcome for people living with a disability and their families. This includes people living with mental illness.
- We are pleased with the focus on psychosocial support for people with complex mental illness. We strongly encourage State Governments to also fund these initiatives.
- One of these initiatives is $9.1M funding for telehealth so people living in regional and remote Australia can access psychologist services.
- WayAhead welcomes the investment to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) especially the inclusion of drugs used with the treatment of schizophrenia.
- We’re pleased by the move towards increasing affordable access to medicines and not proceeding with patient co-payment or an increase to PBS safety net threshold.
- The $350M investment to veterans living with major mental health trauma is an important action to help servicemen and woman access the support they need.
- Unfreezing the Medicare rebate in a staged approach is welcomed by WayAhead and it is hoped this will help more GPs offer bulk-billing to their patients.
- The $15M investment into mental health research will further help our sector understand mental illness, its societal affects and better treatment options.
WayAhead is concerned by the proposed quarantining of welfare payments of people who test positive to drugs, as there could be underlying mental health issues present.
WayAhead believes more funding and support of the Alcohol and Other Drug sector is needed to better support people with identified alcohol and drug abuse.