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Budget 2013: Education, Legal Affairs, Mental Health and Veterans Affairs portfolio breakdown

The 2013 Labor Budget will do little to ease the stress on Australians. Senator Penny Wright talks about what was in the budget and what more could be done in each of her portfolio areas.

Education

What's in the budget:

  • $9.8 billion in new school funding
  • $3 billion in next the next four years, $6 billion to come in the following two years

What I think:

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Schizophrenia Awareness Week motion - make mental health a priority

I move that the Senate

notes that:

(i)      it is Schizophrenia Awareness Week;

(ii)    people affected by serious mental illness face critical challenges to achieving and maintaining the same physical health as other people in the community;

(iii)   such people are more vulnerable to coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and respiratory disease than those without serious mental illness; and

(iv)  their life expectancy is up to 25 years less than that of the general population; and

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Country South Aussies let down by budget

The 2013 Labor Budget will do little to ease the stress on country South Australians, say Australian Greens Senators Sarah Hanson Young and Penny Wright.

"Labor has spent more time listening to mining companies, the big banks and their factions than the people in rural and regional communities," Senator Hanson-Young said.

"The Greens stood up for regional South Australia during the Murray Darling Basin debate while our colleagues in the old parties and those upstream tried to sell us down the river.

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Time for action on real cost of mental health

A new report estimating the real costs of mental health services in Australia should be a wake-up call to the old parties, say Australian Greens spokesperson on Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright.

The report funded by Beyond Blue and Medibank said the real costs of mental health services was more than $28 billion, more than three time official government estimates.

"This is further evidence of the need for real action and real dedication from all levels of government," Senator Wright said.

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Veterans' mental health: More to be done, say Greens

The Australian Greens will query the effectiveness of mental health services for veterans, as extra funding for mental health was revealed in yesterday's Defence White Paper.

Australian Greens spokesperson for Mental Health and Veterans Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, welcomed the further funding, but suggested the full extent of veterans mental health needs was yet to be determined.

"The new generation of veterans returning from places like Iraq and Afghanistan will face considerable challenges," Senator Wright said.

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Mentally ill should have access to insurance

Insurance exceptions allowing discrimination against people with mental ill-health must be re-examined, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright.

Through the Senate Inquiry process beginning today, the Australian Greens will seek to amend the exceptions for insurance agencies to make the sector more transparent and accountable.

"It is very disappointing and unfair if these exceptions are being exploited by insurance companies," Senator Wright said.

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Estimates: Mental Health First Aid Questions on Notice

Senate Community Affairs Committee
Health and Ageing Portfolio

Outcome 11 - Mental Health
Question No. E12-080

Senator WRIGHT: 

$6.1 million of funding was allocated to provide training to frontline community workers in 40 regions in Australia. Please list all regions which have received funding for training, how much funding was allocated to each region, a description of the training that was provided for each region, and how many people received training in each region.

Answer:

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Estimates: BeyondBlue Program Questions on Notice

Senate Community Affairs Committee
Health and Ageing Portfolio

Outcome 11 - Mental Health
Question No. E12-081

Senator WRIGHT: 

a) Could the Department give a progress report on beyondblue's men's mental health and suicide awareness campaigns, which received $9 million funding to benefit high-risk groups, including single men, fathers, older men, the unemployed, rural and Indigenous men.

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