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Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

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TEMPLEMAN CALLS FOR HEADSPACE UPGRADE IN WAKE OF BUSHFIRE CRISIS

February 12, 2020

TEMPLEMAN CALLS FOR HEADSPACE UPGRADE IN WAKE OF BUSHFIRE CRISIS

 

Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, has accused the Federal Government of ignoring an urgent need for youth mental health services in the Blue Mountains in the aftermath of the recent bushfires and storms.

 

The Morrison Government promised it would establish a satellite headspace service – catering for the needs of young people aged between 12 and 25 years – at Katoomba during last year’s election, however Ms Templeman said the site is not operational, nine months later.

 

In Parliament on Tuesday (February 11), Ms Templeman asked if the government would consider upgrading the satellite service to a full centre, and get it up and running immediately.

 

But Health Minister, Greg Hunt, said funding would be “demand-driven” in Katoomba, which Ms Templeman said attitude was simply unacceptable.

 

“My community has been ravaged by bushfire and battered by storms and floods, all within the space of two months,” she said.

 

“Many of these young people have never witnessed anything like this at all, and many – particularly those working in the hospitality industry – are facing financial hardship due to the downturn in the local tourism industry because of these disasters.

 

“The government has said it wants to help people with trauma counselling, but then the Minister seemed to question whether there was a need.

 

“There is a clear need and the Minister should be meeting it now, by acting to immediately establish a full service headspace.

 

“The Minister also told Parliament there was an additional $500,000 in funding  provided for PHNs [Primary Health Networks] to support young people. It’s not clear whether this additional funding has been allocated to Katoomba,” she said.

 

“His statements prove this government is blind to the psychological impacts of weeks and weeks of natural disasters, which could affect some of the most vulnerable members of our community – young people.”

 

Ms Templeman called for the expansion of the Katoomba headspace service earlier this week, saying it had limited capacity to respond to the needs of those living across the broad footprint of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury areas.

 

“As it stands, the Katoomba headspace service isn’t funded to meet needs of young people from the wider fire-affected area – even if it did exist,” she said.

 

ENDS

 

TRANSCRIPT OF QUESTION SIX, FEDERAL PARLIAMENT QUESTION TIME (TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11)

 

SUSAN TEMPLEMAN: Young Australians in my electorate have faced the stress and trauma of bushfires for weeks and weeks. Yet the government has only promised one headspace satellite service for my entire electorate – and it still hasn’t opened? Will the government listen to the calls from my community to upgrade the Katoomba headspace to a full centre – and get it up and running immediately?

 

GREG HUNT, MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Only yesterday I met with Pat McGorry, as well as spoke with the head of headspace for Australia. We discussed a number of needs across Australia, and whilst they didn't raise this one, I can say that this is one of 30 new services which the Government is funding. And, more significantly than that, we know that the Nepean Blue Mountains PHM is working closely with the local community to ensure that the new headspace is established. In particular, in addition, the PHN is receiving funding of $500,000 to support young people aged 12-25 in bushfire-affected communities.

 

So, this is in addition to the headspace funding. So, we are supporting headspace by establishing one, we're providing, right now, at this moment, $500,000. And unfortunately that was omitted from the question, that important detail. And as well as that, and I make this commitment to the House, there is additional funding for those PHNs and those headspaces which require additional services, if demand exceeds what is provided for then we will provide that additional funding. So, that will be demand-driven in the case of Katoomba. So, it's one of 30 around the country. It's supplemented by $500,000, specifically for PHN. Again, I realise that was an omission from the question. And the commitment is that if demand exceeds what is currently provided, we will meet that demand in full.

 

WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY, 2020

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