health update

coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. You can ask for an interpreter in your language

Some appointments and health services will stop or change to reduce the risk of transmission. For more information, go to cancellations and appointments.

Policy submissions

Gaming machines application

3rd March 2020

An application has been made to the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation to install 60 electronic gaming machines at the proposed Mt Atkinson Hotel in Melton. cohealth objected to the application, recognising the harm caused by gambling, particularly to those who already experience disadvantage.

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Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 – second exposure draft

31st January 2020

The Attorney-General’s Department is consulting on the second draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, before the legislation is introduced to Parliament.

This second draft continues to jeopardise the health care of many groups in the community and does nothing to allay the concerns we expressed about the first version. cohealth’s submission maintains our position that addressing discrimination against one group of people cannot be done by overriding the rights of, and increasing discrimination against, another group.

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Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health – draft report

23rd January 2020

Building on our initial submission, cohealth’s response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Mental Health responds to some key gaps in the Draft Report. We again emphasise the importance of addressing the social determinants of mental health including poverty, racism, housing and climate change. We also advocate for greater investment in community-based mental health services, particularly those that provide recovery-oriented psychosocial support.

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Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

11th October 2019

cohealth’s submission recommends that more attention needs to be paid to the needs of vulnerable groups to enable them to remain well and healthy in the community for as long as possible. In particular we recommend that: skilled navigators or advocates are available to support vulnerable customers access the system and obtain the supports they need; block funding is retained to meet the inclusion and health promotion needs of these groups; and there are improvements in language services and cultural safety.

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Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 – exposure draft

2nd October 2019

The Attorney-General Department is consulting on the exposure drafts of the Religious Freedom Bills, before the legislation is introduced to Parliament.

cohealth supports measures to eliminate discrimination in any form, including discrimination on the basis of having, or not having, religious belief. However, addressing discrimination against one group cannot be done by overriding the rights of, and increasing discrimination against, another group. We are deeply concerned that the proposed Bill will do just this, by privileging the rights of people holding religious views above those of others, particularly in the area of health care.

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Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2019

26th September 2019

This legislation is the third attempt to introduce a trial of random drug testing of new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (Other) at three sites in NSW, Qld and WA. As with our previous responses to similar Bills cohealth strongly argues against the drug testing trial. These provisions have no basis in best practice evidence, will do little to support people dealing with alcohol and drug use, and will only subject income support recipients to greater poverty, stigma and marginalisation. Drug and alcohol use is best responded to through public health measures, not welfare compliance.

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Adequacy of Newstart and related payments

13th September 2019

This inquiry by the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee is examining the Newstart Allowance (and related payments) including considering if the payment is enough for people to have an acceptable standard of living.
Our submission strongly recommends and urgent increase in the rate of Newstart. cohealth recognises that the rate of Newstart is too low for people to afford the essentials of life. The negative impacts on physical and mental health and wellbeing are significant.

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Looking after children’s health in Out of Home Care

30th August 2019

Children and young people in Out of Home Care (OOHC) have poorer health than other children and young people. This consultation will inform the development of a new Victorian Out of Home Care Health Strategy. cohealth’s submission identifies a range of features of providing effective services to these children, particularly emphasising the importance of ongoing care coordination. Community health services are well placed to provide a systematic response to the health and primary care needs of children in OOHC.

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Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

5th July 2019

cohealth’s submission to the Royal Commission drew on the voices of cohealth consumers, carers and workers. We emphasise the importance of addressing the social determinants of health: racism, stigma and discrimination; poverty; and affordable and secure housing. We argue that clear guiding principles must underpin all responses to improve mental health, including: the central involvement of people with lived experience; human rights; cultural safety; recovery oriented and trauma informed practice; and carer and family inclusive practice. Other priorities for early change we recommend are: investing in social inclusion; increasing community-based support, particularly for people with serious mental illness; and support for people experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.

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