Today I welcome the agreement of the states and territories to working together with the Commonwealth to revive a national approach to mental health reform.
The response to the findings and reform recommendations will be coordinated through a dedicated COAG working group as proposed yesterday.
This is essential because, as the report finds, the mental health system in this country is fragmented and broken at multiple levels and we need a national coordinated approach across governments and the mental health sector.
As I announced yesterday, this COAG process will work hand-in-hand with a number of other support mechanisms, including an Expert Reference Group and broad mental health stakeholder workshops.
I can ensure the mental sector today this process is about implementation and transforming the work of the review from paper into policy, not just more talk.
However, the reality is this report is one to Government, not of Government.
While there are some positive recommendations, others may not deliver a practical reality or need further work in direct consultation with the mental health sector.
A clear example of this is the proposal to shift $1 billion from state acute care into community care, which I’ve used today’s meeting to again assure my state and territory colleagues the Commonwealth will not be pursuing this recommendation.
That’s why we must take these next steps to work with the mental health sector and the states and territories to ensure we get long-term national mental health reform right.
Turf wars and politicking are core underlying contributors to the significant fractures in the current mental health system and I simply ask all parties to put aside their own interests and differences so we can all work together to deliver the best outcomes for the most important people in this process: the patients.