Parliament Mental health

Euroa electorate mental health services

02 May 2017

2 May 2017

Ms RYAN (Euroa) — The adjournment matter that I raise tonight is for the Minister for Mental Health, and the action that I seek is additional investment, particularly in light of today's budget, in mental health services in my electorate. I have huge gaps in mental health service provision in Benalla and indeed in communities right across my electorate. In March last year I asked the minister to conduct an urgent review of mental health services in Benalla to ensure that they were meeting community needs. I find it so disheartening that today's budget actually provided more money to the rorting member for Melton than it did to mental health service provision across the Euroa electorate. That is despite my repeated calls to the government for funding.

At the end of June this year funding for Ivan Lister, a community services worker in my electorate, will expire. Ivan is incredibly effective because he is just like the people that he aims to help. He is a knockabout bloke — I have spoken about him here in Parliament before — and he has saved many lives, particularly through the decade-long drought that we had. The people who know him know the extraordinary difference he has made, particularly across Strathbogie and Euroa. He was previously funded by the state government. Funding from the state expired. The feds picked it up. That expired. He is now being funded two days a week by Benalla Rural City Council, but that funding is also due to expire.

I think it is incumbent on this government to ensure that Ivan and his extraordinary work continues for the benefit of my community. I hear from young people, from parents and from concerned community members all the time about their inability to access services. Young people, even at crisis point, are trying to make appointments with specialists and psychologists only to be told that it will be a 12-week wait in Benalla. The Centre for You, a private practice in Euroa, currently has a 12-month waiting list to get in to see a psychologist. There are simply not the services that are required. Parents of children who are being severely bullied do not know where to turn.

In Benalla, as is the case with most towns in my electorate, there is nowhere that people can walk into to talk to someone if they need to. In Benalla there are no GPs who actually advertise bulk-billing. I am sorry, but the website that this government has funded simply does not cut it in my electorate, and I urge the minister to provide some real funding, rather than just some pretty words.

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