Politicians square off over mental health funding

MENTAL health services may soon emerge as major Budget beneficiaries, as both sides of politics begin talking up potential funding increases for the sector.

Amid ongoing claims from experts that mental health had been all but ignored in Labor’s sweeping health reforms, Treasurer Wayne Swan last week used a pre-Budget speech to the Queensland Media Club to stress the Government was “very serious” about mental health.

“Responding to the enormous unmet need in this area is a very significant priority for the Government,” he said. 

“We will build on the very significant initiatives we put in place… in this term of government.” 

As MO went to press, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was expected to unveil a $400 million mental health initiatives package that would build on the $1.5 billion mental health services package announced as a 2010 election pledge.