Analysis from the EntreHub and NewsNow newsroom. A full copy of the budget and the Australian Governments commentary and papers can be found here
More than 3,000 Australians died by suicide in the 2015 reporting period and it remains one of the nation’s single biggest health and well being related challenges. In the 2017-18 budget the Australian Government has largely announced commitments that have been in the pipeline for the last several years including a dedicated Mental Health Research Fund. However, new initiatives that have been developing are now receiving new or additional funding.
The better access provision for the NDIS and a new $80 million investment to lower the barriers for those seeking help as part of the scheme to access services is one example as is the $145.5 million to the Primary Health Networks to further build after hours access. While the latter may not specifically be targeted towards suicide prevention or mental health related services there is enough scope for that to be possible.
Of note is the $58.6 million that will be invested in providing better ease of access for Veterans. In the Veterans portfolio, the link has finally been drawn to employment and transition to work – whereby those impacted by mental health or suicide prevention related issues will be assisted and supported back into employment. Importantly it appears that the National Mental Health Commission has kept its funding intact although there is no apparent increase in either of Bill allocations in 17-18. Overall – steady as she goes with many projects yet to bear fruit.
Departmental: The National Mental Health Commission resources provided in budget 17-18 remains at 2,736. Major movers in the health portfolio include the general account, Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency. The National Health and Medical Research Council lifted from 39,176 to 44,555. (Bill No.1)
Administrative: The National Mental Health Commission remains at 3,726
The National Health Plan will exceed $10 billion with the total health spend for 17-18 sitting at $94.2 billion, increasing by 2.8%
$145.5 million will be provided to Primary Health Networks to lift access in communities to afterhours primary health services
$9.1 million will be specifically provided for telehealth access in rural areas for suicide prevention projects
$11.1 million will be invested in identified “hotspots” where there is a high prevalence of suicide in the community – this could include campaigns, signage and local initiatives – could be angled to support existing national initiatives.
A national partnership will be established with State and Territories Governments to deliver infrastructure such as fencing and barriers in known suicide locations
$80 million over four years for community mental health services to assist people to be able to access relevant services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme
$15 million (already announced) will be invested into the new Mental Health Research Fund (within Australia)
$58.6 million will be invested into mental health for veterans and currently serving members of the ADF – a new strategy to open further access to support services will also be undertaken whereby a “single day served” will be the only requirement to access support
$2.9 million for veterans in a new transition to work scheme
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