States must allocate greater funds to mental health programs

LABOR’S $7.4 billion health reforms have failed to benefit the mental health sector, the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) has argued, and the Gillard Government must now set benchmarks for the states to ensure they direct enough of their spending to this sector.

In a series of recently released position papers, the MHCA claims just 1.6% of funds in the National Health and Hospitals Network were specifically allocated to mental health.
  The council now wants one-quarter of the $1.6 billion allocated to the national subacute care initiative to be set aside for mental health.

It also called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to ensure each state devoted 15% of all mental health funding to the community-managed mental health sector by 2013–14, and another 10% to mental health prevention and early intervention by 2015.

An MHCA spokesperson said it was currently impossible to tell how