Joint media release with the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
MORE than two months since the Gillard Labor Government announced that the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program would be capped at last year’s level, nurses still have not been advised by the Department of Health and Ageing of what that level is.
“Labor is notorious for coming up with these plans with little or no idea about how to effectively implement their policies,” said the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
“I call on the Minister to clear up this confusion and talk to the stakeholders affected by this decision,” said Senator Fierravanti-Wells.
This week, Minister Mark Butler will officially launch the new headspace centre in Cairns. Under Labor’s changes to the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program announced in May, no new nurses and no new organisations will be able to deliver vital services to young people with complex and serious mental illness in Cairns.
“Is it true that the new headspace in Cairns will not have a Mental Health Nurse on staff because of the changes Labor made in this year’s Federal budget?” asked Senator Fierravanti-Wells ahead of this week’s launch.
“This is typical of Labor’s tactics in mental health – cut programs with no consultation and little consideration for the impact on those suffering from serious mental conditions”, said Senator Fierravanti-Wells.
Backing the Senator’s concerns, Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch labelled the government’s decision not to fund a professional mental health nurse as “nothing short of tokenism”, saying it will do little to enhance the provision of youth mental health services.
“This is typical of this government in that they make these announcements but fall short on the delivery of the service,” Mr Entsch said.
“Mental health services, particularly for young people, are in desperate need of significant investment in funding and in additional professional services.
“This government should be condemned for their lack of commitment to finding real outcomes and real solutions to the youth mental health crisis that is currently being experienced in this region.”