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Govt misses opportunity to boost mental health, but Greens decide to back Private Health Bills.



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Rachel Siewert

Govt misses opportunity to boost mental health, but Greens decide to back Private Health Bills

Media Release | Spokesperson Bob Brown, Rachel Siewert

Wednesday 24th February 2010, 2:31pm

in

• Health Insurance

• Health Services

• Hospitals

• Mental Health

• Public / Private Health Services

Having previously opposed the Medicare Levy Surcharge, the Greens have now decided to support both it

and the Private Health Insurance Rebate legislation.

The Greens will support the legislation which would see $1.9 billion directed to public hospitals, despite the

Government rejecting a proposal that would have given a $145 million boost to early intervention mental

health services.

"The Greens wholeheartedly support delivering over four years $1.9 billion of desperately needed funding

for public hospitals and we will not stand in the way of legislation to do this," said Australian Greens Leader

Bob Brown.

"But in rejecting our proposal, the Government has missed a huge opportunity to provide vital money for

mental health services.

"$145 million would make a huge impact in the areas of early intervention and community mental health

services that help keep people out of hospital.

"The Greens are supporting the passage of this legislation because we seek to maximise the delivery of

public health money and we are here to represent the best interests of the Australian community," said

Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The Greens will continue to promote sensible and constructive action with our proposals to break Senate

deadlock on major issues like this, the stimulus package, climate change and Youth Allowance."

Media contacts:

Erin Farley 0438 376 082 or

Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302