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STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT - 13/04/2011 - Mental health and workforce participation
House of Representatives committee
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Mental health and workforce participation

CHAIR (Ms Rishworth) —I declare open the first public hearing of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment inquiry into mental health and workforce participation. The inquiry was referred to the committee in March 2011 by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workforce Relations, Senator Christopher Evans. The inquiry will investigate how best to assist Australians with mental ill health to overcome barriers to their education, training and employment participation. The inquiry will focus on improving access to education, training and employment services through greater collaboration between government, the health community, education, training and employment service providers, and strategies to improve the capacity for individuals, families, community members, co-workers and employers to respond to the needs of people with mental ill health.

The inquiry affords the committee a unique opportunity to inform the government’s ongoing commitment to mental health care reform and maximising employment participation. Yesterday the committee visited a number of organisations that are working innovatively and successfully with consumers to better their education, training and employment prospects. We visited Orygen Youth Health, who we will hear from today; Outlook Market, a social enterprise run by Outlook Environmental; the Madcap Café, run by ERMHA; EACH Employment Services, and Central East Whitehorse Personal Helpers and Mentors Program. Today the committee will hear from a range of organisations, starting with the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria.

[9.07 am]