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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6452


Mrs MARKUS (5:07 PM) —I have a couple of questions for the minister. One question concerns mental health and the other, pharmaceutical copayments. Minister, as you and I are both aware, people in the veteran community have complex needs, and legislation has been developed to respond to those needs. But the pharmaceutical copayment is still an issue of concern. I understand that the minister has announced a review. Could the minister tell me in relation to the review: what is its key purpose; what will be its timing; who will be involved in it; and who will be consulted about it? I imagine, for example, that the Department of Health and Ageing would be a critical contact to include in the consultation process. Also, who will be contracted to conduct the review? And when does the minister expect to be able to announce any decisions as a result of the review?

There are two questions on mental health. The first question is in relation to the minister’s announcement of $9.5 million over four years in response to the Dunt report on suicide in the veteran community. How was that figure arrived at? Could the minister provide a breakdown to indicate which services the funding will be allocated to? I understand that some of that money may be allocated to training programs for social workers. It would be good if that could be confirmed. The second question in relation to mental health is about the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. My understanding is that it has been commissioned by the Veterans’ Affairs mental health policy unit to conduct an evaluation of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs health initiatives. Could the minister advise me as to how that evaluation program is being conducted? How is the veteran community being consulted? When will the evaluation be completed? When does the minister expect to release its findings?