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Our response to the Productivity Commission’s draft mental health report

Posted on January 28, 2020

Primary Health Tasmania has submitted a response to the Productivity Commission’s draft report following its mental health inquiry.

The Productivity Commission inquiry looked into the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate and prosper in the community and workplace, and the effects it has more generally on the economy and productivity.​ The draft report was released last October.

Primary Health Tasmania agrees with the overall thrust of the draft report and the recommended changes put forward by the Commission to achieve “a path for maintainable long-term reform”.

However, we are of the view that a number of the recommendations require further consideration based on differing population socio-demographics and mental health need; jurisdictional ‘politics’ and geography; and the current status of health system readiness within each region.

A key point we make is that creation of regional commissioning authorities to administer all state and federal mental health funding will result in siloing of mental health commissioning responsibilities from other health areas, such as alcohol and other drugs. Our response states:

“This appears contrary to the ethos of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan, which highlights the importance of an integrated approach taking into account the relationship between good mental health and wellbeing and the attainment and maintenance of better physical and emotional health and wellbeing.”   

Instead, we support a ‘renovate’ model which involves building on the current funding and commissioning model and gives PHNs such as Primary Health Tasmania greater flexibility. 

We also advocate bringing forward establishment of a peer workforce.

The final inquiry report is due to be handed to the Australian Government by 23​ May.

You can read our full response here.