On Tuesday 7 March I made a speech in Federal Parliament on behalf of the hundred of people in Ryan, and the thousands nationwide, who are reeling from the government's cuts to mental health care. You can watch the speech here or read the full transcript below.
E WATSON-BROWN: I want to speak on behalf of the 562 people in Ryan who signed my petition to the government to restore the 20 Medicare funded psychology sessions—and I speak on behalf of the many thousands more affected by the cruel decision of the government to cut sessions to ten at the end of last year. People who've been relying on regular specialist appoints will no longer be able to afford it. This is going to have devastating impacts on some of the most vulnerable people in our community, people who are already under increased stress due to the cost-of-living and housing crises. Now is the time to be expanding support, not cutting it.
We know there's huge demand for our existing mental health services. Believe it or not, simply cutting the number of subsidised sessions does not actually reduce this demand. The government could invest in preventive mental health care and working towards free unlimited health sessions for all. Instead, the government's chosen to cruelly cut these sessions to save a quick buck. Meanwhile it's keeping the $254 billion tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the already wealthy and the $12 billion annually to subsidise the fossil fuel industry.