The opening of Parliament yesterday highlighted that the Weatherill Labor Government loves flowery words but lacks the skill and commitment to deliver on mental health.
Only nine months ago, the Government used the opening speech to Parliament after the election to claim that improving mental health would be “central to the work of government”.
Yet, in the nine months since, the Weatherill Government failed to deliver on their key commitment at that time “to establish a new, independent Mental Health Commission.”1
At the election, Labor promised the Mental Health Commission would develop the South Australian Mental Health Plan 2015-2020 to improve the health and wellbeing of people with a mental illness.2
“With 2015 well underway there is no sign of a Mental Health Commission let alone the Mental Health Plan,” said Shadow Minister for Mental Health Stephen Wade.
“Indeed less than a year after promising that improving mental health would be central to the work of the Weatherill Government, mental health did not even rate a mention in the Governor’s speech re-opening the South Australian Parliament yesterday.
“The 45 per cent of South Australians who experience mental illness at some point in their life time have been let down by the Weatherill Labor Government.
“Further demonstrating its lack of commitment, the Weatherill Government managed to produce a plan to transform the health system which ignores specialist mental health services.
“It has no plan to fix a dysfunctional mental health system that is fuelling chronic overcrowding in our emergency departments.
“Until our mental system is working properly, South Australia’s ailing hospital system will not work properly,” Mr Wade said.
1. Governor's speech at the opening of the First Session of the 53rd Parliament, Parliament of South Australia, 6 May 2014.
2. South Australian Labor. 2014. Let's keep building South Australia: Labor's Plan for South Australia 2014-2018, p61.