Policy submissions

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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NDIS Annual Price Review – consultation

26th May 2019

cohealth’s submission to this review focusses on the absence of funding to cover travel for participants to receive home visits for Support Coordination. This reduces time with Support Coordination and restricts participants choice and control. Socially isolated participants are particularly affected.

We recommend that the travel component of Support Coordination work is funded in line with allied health services.

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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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