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2018 budget: Beyond privatization?

I have some concerns about the 2018 Federal budget, specifically in relation to privatization and mental health.

Remember the “Medicare privatization” issue, where the Liberals said: “No, we don’t want to privatize Medicare”? … Well, they are actually privatizing health services in the budget this year, from what I read in the budget documents:

(Page 140)

Prioritising Mental Health — aftercare following a suicide attempt

The government is going to give money to “beyondblue”, which is a private company to do follow-ups with people that had suicide attempts so those people follow their commitments to appointments with psychologists, etc. (which they call “Way Back Support Service (WBSS)”), that is essentially something of health services that I understand has been provided by the public health system in Australia; and I understand from reading the budget papers that the public health system will stop doing those functions that will be transferred to “beyondblue”, so that is essentially privatization. (The government is also going to give money to “The Junction Clubhouse cairns” which is also a private company about programs for mental health)

Is this privatization of health services in Australia?

Beyondblue’s “Way Back Support Service”:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/about-our-work/suicide-prevention/the-way-back-support-service

Support Coordinators deliver the service to help people stay safe and connected with:

  • their support networks and

  • existing health and community services

during a period of high risk and vulnerability.

The public health system is ALREADY doing that:

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/mentalhealth/publications/Publications/pub-phmh-expect.pdf

What to expect from your Mental Health Service:

  • Linking you with a local GP if required and assisting with appointments

  • Helping you to attend activities, such as yoga or Pilates, which will help to improve your physical health and wellbeing

When a private company starts doing activities that the public system was doing, using money given to them from the government, that is privatization isn’t it?

I’m a big supporter of Beyondblue and have been for years. I help raise money for them and men’s health, but I don’t like to see money that should go to public services going to private companies instead. It’s a shady way to privatize, and nobody seems to be talking about it….


The 2018 federal budget is located here:

https://www.budget.gov.au/2018-19/content/bp2/download/bp2_combined.pdf

About Darin Sullivan (1968 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.

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