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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 72

Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (16:35): I would like to begin today by recognising, as the Prime Minister and others did in question time, that today is R U OK? Day. It's a national day of action dedicated to reminding people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, 'Are you okay?' On this day, I say that I am proud of the Liberal-National government's action on working to address mental health in Australia and to provide services to support the many Australians who live with mental illness. Mental health is one of the key pillars in the Australian government's long-term national health plan. The $338 million mental health package announced in this year's budget reinforces our commitment to assist those in our community who are living with mental illness.

Locally, in my electorate, I'm also pleased to formally announce today that I have recently secured $500,000 from the coalition government to help establish a program to support people with mental illness in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula areas. The funding will go towards the Kindred Clubhouse program, which provides a drop-in centre. It's very important for people who may be reluctant to access the more traditional, clinical, appointment-based services. The funding will be used to employ support staff who will run regular activities for clubhouse members and to provide advice and support. It will also cover the administrative costs associated with running the program. Programs such as these are important to our local community, because, without them, many people who face the daily challenges of mental illness don't have access to the support they need, and the results can be devastating for the individual, their families and the broader community.

Kindred Clubhouse is a not-for-profit organisation based in Frankston, in my electorate, focussed on mental health support. They are using this community-based program to provide practical support and advice to help people with mental illness in their day-to-day lives. Most importantly, it is a place to belong, where people can feel comfortable and are always welcome. Providing a safe, welcoming place for those with mental illness to develop the skills and confidence needed to lead satisfying and purposeful lives in the community is something we can support.

The clubhouse also offers members help in the following areas: social skills and friendships; family connections; managing daily-living needs; financial management and budgeting; finding and maintaining a home; vocational skills; educational training goals; maintaining physical wellbeing; managing drug and alcohol addictions; building broader life skills, including confidence and resilience and much more. Clubhouse members are also given the opportunity to get a job in the local community through the Transitional Employment Program.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the work of the entire committee and team at the Kindred Clubhouse. I'll particularly mention Kim Kerr and Michael Sillekens, who I was pleased to meet with in April this year, along with the Minister for Health, to discuss the important work the whole team at Kindred Clubhouse undertake in the Frankston area and across the Mornington Peninsula. At the same time, I'd like to kick off my advocacy for this important funding of $500,000 that has now been secured under the Morrison government.

I'd also like to thank the Minister for Health, who has been working diligently with me to address mental illness in his role as the health minister. Minister Hunt took the time to visit Frankston and hear directly from some of the local service providers who work tirelessly in Dunkley to assist others who live with mental illness. I also note others associated with the Kindred Clubhouse in Frankston, one being Ambassador Beth Wilson, and the clubhouse's partners, being the Rotary Frankston Peninsula 2.0, Peninsula Carer Council, Peninsula Rotaract Club, Frankston City Council, Peninsula Health, Mentis Assist and the many others that partner and work with the Kindred Clubhouse.

On this R U OK? Day, it is important that we remember that staying connected and having meaningful conversations are things we can all do. You don't need to be an expert, just a good friend and a great listener. If you notice someone who might be struggling, start a conversation. Let's continue to invest in this important area of mental health. I also note the wonderful work of headspace across the country and in my electorate as well. I note that we secured an additional $240,000 over a couple of years for headspace in Frankston after my advocacy through the coalition government, which has been very important to tackling mental health in my electorate. Let's continue to work in this area. I encourage those in my electorate of Dunkley, in Victoria, in Australia and beyond to ask, 'Are you okay?'