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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3898

Mr VARVARIS (Barton) (13:37): I rise to inform the House of my recent opening of Wesley Hospital's Kogarah clinical education facility with the Wesley Mission CEO, the Reverend Dr Keith Garner. Wesley Mission has been an integral part of Sydney's southern suburbs for more than 50 years. It provides crucial amenities, such as counselling, mental health services and a private psychiatric hospital at Kogarah, in the electorate of Barton.

The issue of mental health is one of medical and community concern. Unfortunately, the number of mental health sufferers is on the rise and, despite concerted efforts for community awareness and service provisions, demand is not always met with supply. Wesley Mission is acutely aware of this and that the appetite for mental health service delivery can only be met with an increase in appropriate mental health professionals and allied health workers. I am immensely proud that Kogarah now has a dedicated education facility, purpose-built to facilitate the training and development of dedicated mental health workers. The funding was granted by the Commonwealth Department of Health and is an appropriate remedy to address foreseeable future health dilemmas—one of which our former Prime Minister the Hon. John Howard would have been proud, through his longstanding relationship with Wesley Mission.

Demand for training with adequate facilities can be difficult to access, so the opening of Wesley Mission's Kogarah clinical education facility provides an exciting opportunity for students to gain valuable insight in a practical environment. This is the necessary beginning in addressing expected growth in mental health needs as our population increases. (Time expired)