Mental Health

20 Oct 2005 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister Assisting in Mental Health a question about her ministerial statement yesterday.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Yesterday I asked some questions regarding the ministerial statement that the minister made. In her reply she stated:

You probably also neglected to quote, if you had read the report— and this is the report entitled ‘Not for service’— that according to the National Mental Health Report 2004 South Australia finishes third out of the eight states and territories in terms of per capita spending. And you probably also neglected to remember that we put $25 million injection into our community services.

It goes on again and blames the previous government, and states:

There is so much catching up to do because the ball was dropped under the Liberal Party.

On page 73 the National Mental Health Report of 2004 does indeed state:

According to NMHR South Australia finishes third out of the eight states and territories in terms of per capita expenditure ($96.19) just above the national average ($92.03).

If we go to the actual source of the document ‘National Mental Health Report 2004’ we see at page 3 the per capita spending on mental health by the states and territories and, indeed, those dollar figures are there. However, it refers to the period 2001-02—under the previous Liberal government. In 2001-02 I believe the minister at the time was the Hon. Dean Brown. My questions to the minister are—

The Hon. R.K. Sneath interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Do you want to hear it? Do you want to hear my question?

1. Does the minister agree that her comments yesterday regarding South Australia’s position as the third highest per capita spending state in fact relates to the last full year of the previous Liberal government, that is, 2001-02?

2. Will the minister concede that under this Rann Labor government mental health funding per capita has actually fallen behind all other states?

Members interjecting:

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: On a point of order, sir, I am having difficulty hearing the member ask her question, because she is being drowned out by members opposite.

The PRESIDENT: I was about to raise the same issue myself. There is too much audible conversation on this side of the council, which seems to transpose to the other side of the council when an answer is given. We need to hear what the Hon. Ms Lensink is trying to convey to the council.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I thank the Whip for his protection.

The Hon. R.K. Sneath: You’re welcome.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Ours. In her ministerial statement yesterday, the minister referred to increases in funding for non-government organisations.Will the minister advise what the funding was for NGOs in mental health in 2004-05 and what it will be in 2005-06? Why has the government not commuted the $25 million in new funds for community health services into the recurrent budget? The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia says in its press release post this year’s budget that we are still behind. In spite of the recurrent increase of $5 million, we are still behind all other Australian states. Does the minister concede that she misled the council yesterday?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister Assisting in Mental Health): The honourable member really should not be pinning her colours to the mast of the member for Finniss in another place but should be working with us and looking forward in this place. That is what you should be doing.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: That is exactly what she should be doing.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order, the Hon. Mr Redford!

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I said in my ministerial statement yesterday that the report also argues for new models of community based care. I said that South Australia, unlike many other states, has acknowledged that poor health and limited access to services for mental health consumers is a human rights issue. I said all those things.

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: Congratulations!

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I am pleased that you are now working with us. Do not pin your mast to the member for Finniss in another place. He is looking backwards. He is pining still to be leader of your party, in case you have not worked it out. This government has acknowledged that we have a lot of work to do.We have acknowledged that and we do not resile from it. We are putting more money into community health—as you have said, $25 million—and we have identified that it can be used for up to two or three years and then we will look at it again.

We will see which models work and which do not. It comes on top of other recurrent funding you did not put in.

We are devolving a mental health service in this state, especially close to where people actually live—is that not a wonderful thing? You should be celebrating with us. We all know that we have a lot of work to do, and you should be working with us. Do not look to the member for Finniss in another place—work with us. Mental health is everybody’s business. It should be a bipartisan issue—work with us.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: By way of supplementary question, does the minister concede that the government has further work to do in providing accurate information in future ministerial statements on mental health?


The Hon. J.F. STEFANI: By way of supplementary question, is the minister confident that Monsignor Cappo and the Hon. Lea Stevens will have the cooperation of Dr Sev Ozdowski in nominating a representative on the reference group when the then leader of the opposition, the Hon. Mike Rann, savagely attacked him in 1997 for keeping political dossiers?

The PRESIDENT: I am struggling to see how that comes out of the minister’s answer, but the minister is in a position to respond.

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: I think so many members in this place flout standing orders, and a lot of the supplementaries do not arise from the answer at all. In good faith, because we believe mental health is important to everyone in this state, the Hon. Lea Stevens, as Minister for Health, and Monsignor David Cappo, as chair of the Social Inclusion Board, have written to Dr Sev Ozdowski. He would be well known to the state. He worked here as the head of the Multicultural Affairs Commission for quite a few years. We were pleased for him when he got his promotion. We will wait to see what he has to say, but we would very much welcome his nominating someone else if he cannot do it personally.