Policy submissions

Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health

5th April 2019

This inquiry will examine the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate in and prosper in the community and workplace, and the effects it has on our economy and productivity. cohealth’s submission emphasises the importance of addressing the social determinants of health: racism, stigma and discrimination; poverty; and increasing 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. A greater focus on prevention and early intervention is needed. Mental health services should be safe, responsive, appropriate and integrated with health care and social support.

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Streamlined Consumer Assessment for Aged Care

11th February 2019

The Federal Department of Health invited feedback on a new framework for streamlined consumer assessments for all aged care.
cohealth broadly supports the proposed model. We recommend that access barriers for special needs groups be addressed through more flexible entry and assessment options; assessments be client led; skilled, experienced and qualified staff to undertake assessments; and there be improved responses for vulnerable clients.

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Submission to Royal Commission into Mental Health Terms of Reference consultation

6th February 2019

In our submission to this consultation cohealth recommended that: the experiences of people with lived experience of mental illness be the central focus of the inquiry; the causes of mental ill health, including abuse, trauma, stigma and the social determinants of health be addressed; psychosocial rehabilitation supports for people with serious mental illness be examined; and that integration of services be considered, within the mental health system, and in a wide range of related health and social support sectors.

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Inquiry into Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

11th June 2018

This Committee is inquiring into matters relating to constitutional change, including recommendations from the Referendum Council, Uluru Statement from the Heart and earlier inquiries.

cohealth fully supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Autonomy and self determination are fundamental to good health, and constitutional recognition will provide a sound foundation for addressing the social and economic determinants of health and wellbeing. cohealth strongly urges the Committee to recommend a process to build cross party support to give effect to the model recommended in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2018

13th April 2018

This legislation will 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.
In our submission to the Senate inquiry into this Bill 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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Submission to the Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

9th March 2018

The stated objective of this Bill is to improve the integrity of Australia’s electoral system, however it conflates political campaigning and issue advocacy.
As such, it will threaten the ability of charities and not-for-profits to advocate on behalf of their communities.
We argue strongly against the Bill in its current form, and recommend that it be rewritten to ensure that charities’ right to advocate is not restricted.

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Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) legislation

28th February 2018

cohealth’s submission emphasises the critical role advocacy plays in the work of charities and in a mature democracy.

We argue that no changes should be made to the ACNC objects or frameworks that would restrict the right of charities to advocate in line with their organisational mission.

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Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2017

25th August 2017

This amendment to the Family Law Act proposes banning direct cross-examination in family law proceedings where family violence is present. Direct cross examination is where a person involved in a court case personally asks questions to another person, rather than having the questions asked by a legal representative.
cohealth’s submission emphasises that the protection of victims of family violence must be the key consideration in family law proceedings, and supports the ban on direct cross-examination.

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NDIS Transitional Arrangements

10th August 2017

In our submission to this inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme cohealth re-iterates our concerns about emerging service gaps for people with a serious mental illness in Victoria, both for those eligible for the NDIS and those who aren’t.
Our submission includes recommendations that:
– State and Territory governments meet their obligations to ensure that psychosocial rehabilitation is adequately funded
– the NDIS pricing structure be reviewed to ensure it allows sufficient resources to effectively meet the needs of people with psychosocial disability
– planning processes be improved to better meet the needs of people with a mental health condition.

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