December 16, 2022

The Albanese Labor Government’s announcement to cut the additional Medicare-subsidised psychology sessions introduced by the Coalition has ripped away mental health support for vulnerable Australians in Wide Bay.

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said that as part of the response to support Australians in tough times, the former Coalition Government had doubled the number of Medicare-subsidised psychology sessions available through the Better Access initiative from 10 to 20. 

“Going into the holiday period with a new Covid wave peaking, the cost of living and energy bills sky rocketing, and floods continuing to impact parts of the country, mental health support could not be more important for people in Wide Bay,” Mr O’Brien said.

“But despite the significant pressures still impacting our community, the Labor Government has decided to slash access to psychology sessions in half.”  

“It is staggering that the Albanese Government has decided right now is a good time to rip away additional mental health support from Australians who have been relying on it.”

Serious mental health issues are often at their highest two to three years after a crisis, pandemic, or natural disaster, which is why it is absolutely vital that vulnerable Australians have continued access to the psychology sessions they need.

“We also know the holiday season can be a challenging time for people’s mental health and when they need support the most, the Government has proven it is not willing to provide that support,’ Mr O’Brien said.

“These changes are worrying for our local community, and I urge the Labor Government to re-think this decision.”

To rub salt into the wounds of vulnerable Australians, the Minister for Health Mark Butler has even tried to argue that in making this thoughtless cut, they are ‘improving better access’ to mental health services. 

The independent evaluation of the Better Access initiative has even recommended that ‘the additional 10 sessions should continue to be made available and should be targeted towards those with complex mental health needs.’ 

The Labor Government needs to stop its irresponsible attacks on the mental health services Australians are relying on and explain why it has gone against Recommendation 12 of the review, and the needs of vulnerable Australians, by cutting this support.


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I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

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