Newly minted Mental Health and Wellbeing Minister Jeremy Rockliff must tell Tasmanians if he is going to stand up for mental health services as Premier Hodgman and Treasurer Gutwein’s razor gang embarks on its $450 million slash and burn agenda.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said Labor estimated mental health will be targeted with cuts of $8M at a time when services required more funding, not less.
“It’s up to Mr Rockliff to rule that in or out – today,” Ms Lovell said.
“If the Premier is serious about addressing mental health by appointing a Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, he must be true to his word and provide adequate funding for services, not slash that funding.
“But almost a month into the new financial year, the Premier and Treasurer are yet to tell Tasmanians what their razor gang will target.
“Mental health services must be quarantined from the razor gang. Mental health is a huge issue for Tasmania which has among the worst rates of suicide in the country.
“Hospital emergency departments are at breaking point, often with mental health patients who can’t get appropriate care in community
“I would urge Mr Rockliff to adopt Labor’s policy to recruit mental health workers to all Tasmanian state primary and high schools to ensure Tasmanian students have access to specialist mental health support.
“Early intervention and prevention is vital in protecting a young person’s mental health.
“Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14 and one in seven young people aged four to 17 experience a mental health condition in any given year.
“By identifying and treating mental ill health in children we can reduce the number of acute mental health issues at our hospitals and we can help reduce Tasmania’s youth suicide rate.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister