Labor’s commitment to COAG initiative is a farce

04 Sep 2006 archivemedia

The Rann Government has no intention of fulfilling its obligations to match new Federal Government funding for mental health services, according to Shadow Mental Health Minister Michelle Lensink.

Ms Lensink said that in April the Federal Government had come forward with a $1.8 billion package, outlining priorities for funding within mental health and asking the states to contribute funding for new initiatives.

“The Rann Government responded by re-announcing a series of projects and services already committed to without coming close to the Commonwealth’s ‘new services’ requirement,” Ms Lensink said.

“From my understanding, all of the Rann Government’s offerings were announced prior to the March election and therefore pre-date the Prime Minister’s April proposal.

“Under the program the Commonwealth expects the Rann Government to commit up to $144 million of state government support for new initiatives.

“State funding for programs that have already been announced should not be included in the total as they are not ‘new’ or ‘additional’ services as required.

“The COAG agreement outlines priorities for the states including additional resources for hospital-based emergency and crisis services and community, correctional and supported accommodation services.

“The Rann Government’s listed projects do not even mention these critical areas.

“With Budget cuts expected in all sectors, can Minister Gago guarantee that the Rann Government will follow through with the Federal offer and develop and fund genuinely new services for the state’s mental health sector?”