The Coalition Government has announced a further $15.5 million to support mental health services to drought-affected communities throughout Australia, including the electorate of Barker.

Welcoming the announcement Tony Pasin said, “We are investing a further $3.6 million to expand Medicare Benefit Services to enable local doctors in regional drought affected areas to offer mental well-being support services via videoconferencing. This is the first time doctors will be able to offer this service to patients.”

A further $11.9 million in funding was announced by Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, expanding mental health services through existing Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in regions impacted by drought.

“Country SA PHN will receive $2.5 million over two years from 2018-19 through this initiative,” Mr Pasin said.

“Funding will aid community-led initiatives and improve mental health, wellbeing and community resilience.”

Initiatives include:

  • Early intervention and low intensity mental health services
  • Suicide prevention services
  • Community wellbeing activities
  • Workforce capability development projects.

The increased funding brings the Government’s investment through the Empowering our Communities initiative to $21 million over two years from 2018–19.

“The Government is committed to supporting farmers affected by the dry conditions, and we will continue to work with the community to ensuring each region receives the services necessary to get through these devastating times.”

“This investment will allow eligible communities in Barker affected by the lack of rain to apply for funds for local initiatives that improve mental health, wellbeing and community resilience. Priority will be given to funding innovative suicide prevention initiatives.”

The Coalition Government has made mental health a national priority, and it is expected to spend $4.7 billion on mental health this year, including an unprecedented additional $338.1 million through the 2018-19 Budget.


Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8531 2466