PRIME MINISTER: It’s good to be here in Latrobe today and it’s particularly good to be joined by Christine Morgan. Christine Morgan is taking on the job of our National Mental Health Adviser, which is going to be a key role which will help the Government implement our plan to make a big change when it comes to improving the mental health of all Australians. And in the most extreme of cases, ensure we’re moving towards zero when it comes to suicide. It’s not just for young people but for people of all ages.
One in five Australians struggle with mental illness or mental anxiety each year, and so it’s a very common thing and we need to make this conversation as normal as anything else. In the same way when we have physical illnesses we need to engage with the issues of our mental health and wellbeing in exactly the same way. You know, I go swimming pretty much every day. I do that for two reasons. One, to stay physically healthy and the other one is to stay mentally healthy. And we all have our own regimes and our own ways of looking after our wellbeing, and this is going to be a very important focus of the Government over the next three years and this is what. And this is what Christine has joined with us, she comes with a great background and experience with dealing with eating disorders and the way it has not only robbed young Australians of their futures in the most extreme of circumstances, but robbed them also of their quality of life over so many years. And this is all about improving the quality of life of all Australians, and whatever conditions they find that they’re confronting, wherever they happen to live. If it’s here in Latrobe, so they can get access to the wonderful service which I had heard about here from Greg Hunt who said that this place is fantastic, you’ve got to go and check it out. It is really changing things here in Tasmania, so we were very keen to come and see it here.
We’re looking for the best practice all around the country, and Christine will be working with agencies right across the government to make sure we’re all working together. Whether it is how we support our veterans, how we’re dealing with these challenges in remote and regional parts of the country, particularly amongst Indigenous Australians, how we’re supporting young people through the headspace initiative and the significant investments we made there. In the last Budget over $730 million being invested in improving the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.
So it’s a huge job, we’re all very committed to it and I believe there is going to be very strong support right across the country for this. Everyone understands it. We don’t often talk about it as much as we should, but I think there’s been a lot of great heroes who have spoken up. I remember, Christine, Jana Pittman and what she has done in that space when it comes to eating disorders right across the board. So we encourage family to talk about it. This is a place that provides a real safe haven for families to deal with these issues and so I want to commend you guys for the wonderful work you’re doing here. And the fact that it’s happening here in Tassie, Jono, I think that’s pretty good too. It’s great to be back here in Tassie and Christine, thank you for taking on the job.
CHRISTINE MORGAN, CEO NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION: Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER: We’re looking forward to helping millions of Australians.
CHRISTINE MORGAN, CEO NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION: Absolutely.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how will your Government make sure that Tasmanians living in regional areas aren’t marginalised by the NDIS when this isn’t a state or federal responsibility?
PRIME MINISTER: Well that’s exactly the job the Minister is engaged in. One of the reasons we came down here today was to listen to the clients and families and those who are relying on the NDIS. And the good news was everybody understands its importance but at the same time, there is a long way to go. This is a very big project and we’re making really good progress.
JOURNALIST: But people you spoke to today were saying transport as being a key thing, saying they like NDIS but they can’t actually access some of these great services because of the lack of transport. So what’s your advice to them, are they just meant to be waiting it out?
PRIME MINISTER: No, that’s why we came down here to listen to what the problem was and get about fixing it.
JOURNALIST: Will you wipe Tasmania’s housing debt?
PRIME MINISTER: Those issues we’re still working on with the Tasmanian state government as well as with Senator Lambie.
JOURNALIST: What assurances were given to Lambie?
PRIME MINISTER: We already covered those off over the back end of last week.