A South Australian suicide prevention committee is at risk of being axed by the Rann Government, Liberal MLC Michelle Lensink said today.
In evidence given to the Mental Health Select Committee, Dr Paul Lehmann of Mt Barker told the committee that the Rann Government planned to scrap the Ministerial Advisory Council on the Prevention of Suicide and Deliberate Self Harm.
The council aims to prevent suicide among young people, particularly those living in regional South Australia.
“This is yet another example of the Rann Government’s neglect of the needs of country people,” Ms Lensink said.
“Each year more than 160 South Australians take their own lives – more than the total number of people killed on the State’s roads in 2004 (139).
“This council plays a pivotal role in youth suicide prevention and the development of strategies to identify and reach people at risk.
“Unfortunately, it is being neglected because it’s a country program, and doesn’t achieve the media headlines with which the Rann Labor Government is so obsessed.
“I’m calling on the Rann Government to give an assurance that this program will not be scrapped and to work with regional communities to ensure suicide prevention remains a government priority.
“Suicide prevention must be a key focus of any government.
“Scrapping any program that addresses this important issue is disgraceful.”