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Thursday, 25 October 2018
Page: 11177

Mayo Electorate: Health Care


Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (14:15): My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, I've appreciated your open door to discuss health issues relevant to my electorate of Mayo. Would you please provide an update with respect to the expansion of headspace services in Mt Barker, Strathalbyn and Victor Harbor? Secondly, would you please provide details of the government's commitment to fund $20 million to improve drug rehabilitation services in South Australia, with a dedicated facility in Mayo?


Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (14:15): I want to thank the member for Mayo. On a number of occasions now we have discussed the issues of mental health and of drug rehabilitation and drug services within her electorate and within country South Australia more generally. We know that there is a challenge. The national suicide rate is approximately 11.8 per 100,000. Sadly, as challenging as that is, it is even higher, at about 13.9 per 100,000, in country South Australia. That of course includes the vast bulk of Mayo and Mayo residents.

Importantly, the government has been investing very significantly, almost $100 million a year, in headspace across South Australia. We've added a new service in Whyalla, we have expanded our service to Mt Barker and we have added new psychological services across the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Adelaide Hills. The Prime Minister went to South Australia to announce an additional $51 million for headspace, of which $39 million will be directly related to headspace services and centres around the country. That could include—and I am working with the member specifically on this question—capital facilities in relation to the Mt Barker area, where $6 million is available.

We are also looking at the expansion of outreach, as has been proposed in other areas of country South Australia by the member for Barker and the member for Grey. The member for Sturt has been a very important advocate, as one of the founders of headspace across Australia. So we are looking at that, and I am very hopeful that we will be able to achieve something. The case is strong, given the very tragic suicide rates and the youth mental health challenges we face. In addition we are looking at expanding outreach services—I know that the member for Indi also has very significant challenges in relation to Wangaratta—in the same way that we've been able to work with Grafton and with Lithgow, where there have been spikes in suicide rates due to what are sometimes called suicide clusters.

In relation to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, we announced $40 million in the budget—indeed, the Prime Minister announced it as part of his budget work—with $20 million going to education, focused on South Australia, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. There will also be $20 million released for public grants by 30 November. We will be calling for contributions for areas of need and projects that will make a tangible difference, whether it is in a drug rehabilitation service or a drug and alcohol outreach program—things that will literally have the potential to save lives and protect lives. I will be inviting all South Australian members to work with their community to apply for those. I thank the member for her sincere focus on this.