Sort out 'turf' clashes on health

THE Shadow Minister for Mental Health has called for a revamp of how the industry is managed in the light of funding disputes between the Federal and State Governments.

Speaking from Hervey Bay, Liberal Party Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said there needed to be a far clearer delineation of the responsibilities of both levels of government when it came to mental health services.

"There are areas of duplication that need to be looked at," Ms Fierravanti-Wells said.

"There are issues where the Commonwealth and the state overlap."

One example Ms Fierravanti-Wells used was funding for Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC) across the nation, in which the Federal Government promised to provide half the funds required, to be met with a similar commitment from the state governments in question.

She said in this example, all of the funding should come entirely from the Federal Government.

The Fraser Coast was caught in the centre of another funding row between the two governments recently, with the Liberal National Party knocking back $24.7million in federal funding for mental health developments in both Hervey Bay and Maryborough hospitals.

At the time, Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg refused the funds on the basis the ongoing cost of operating the facility was too high.

Ms Fierravanti-Wells said the issue on the Fraser Coast was different to the EPPIC example, with the Federal Government providing the capital and the State Government expected to provide all ongoing costs of the proposed infrastructure.

Mr Springborg was unable to respond to Ms Fierravanti-Wells' comments by the time of publication.



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