Opposition steps up mental health promises ahead of Budget

THE AMA has welcomed a raft of mental health funding promises unveiled by Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

With the Federal Government yet to unveil its own spending commitments for mental health ahead of next week’s Federal Budget, Mr Abbott has announced a $400 million mental health package, on top of the $1.5 billion he pledged at the last election.

The suite of measures is based on a report from Australia’s leading mental health experts, including Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry.

Included in the package is an extra $180 million for improving employment services for people with mental illnesses, $40 million for a mental health research centre, $20 million for mental health worker training and $40 million to establish a mental health commission.

AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce said the Coalition’s announcement was a sound investment and would ease the strain on Australia’s overburdened mental