Bulletin: CMHA’s Gives Evidence at Joint Standing Committee Hearing 

Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), Australia’s coalition of mental health peak bodies, of which QAMH is a partner, was one of a small number of organisations invited to give evidence at a hearing of the Inquiry of the Joint Standing Committee into the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition.

CMHA President, Liz Crowther and Executive Director, Amanda Bresnan appeared before the Committee last Friday 28 March.

In their opening statement, Liz and Amanda expressed concern that ‘the NDIS is not being implemented as it was envisaged, in particular for people with psychosocial disabilities’. They concluded that:

​The key issue is that the NDIS was never meant to be and cannot replace the mental health system. Both disability and psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery services must be part of a continuum of support for people living with a mental illness. It is vital that governments’ work in partnership with community managed mental health service providers to develop solutions to concerns and issues that have emerged. Both the federal, state and territory governments are responsible, and we as a community are responsible.

Read CMHA opening statement – Joint Standing Commitee NDIS hearing 28 April 2017.


Bulletin: CMHA Submission – NDIS Costs Issues Paper

QAMH is concerned that the current NDIS pricing structure is not appropriate for the provision of psychosocial support and rehabilitation.

QAMH recently met with a regional member organisation who costed out the support they provided, and found they made a $2.75 loss on each hour of service provided, before any administration costs were factored in. This member expressed great concern that they are working at a loss; taking on more clients would eventually lead to the demise of the organisation.

Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), Australia’s coalition of mental health peak bodies, of which QAMH is a partner, recently made a submission to the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) annual review of price controls for services and supports. The submission stated that ‘a central issue for mental health being a part of the NDIS has been mental health not fitting into the pricing structures of the NDIS.”

We attach this submission for your information and will keep you informed of the outcomes that arise from the review.

Read CMHA’s submission to the Productivity Commission NDIS Costs Issues Paper


Bulletin: Productivity Commission NDIS Costs Issues Paper

CMHA has made a submission the Productivity Commission NDIS Costs Issues Paper. The key recommendations made in the submission were:

• The NDIS Act must be reviewed now that the legislation is actually at implementation, as recommended by Ernst and Young’s 2015 review of the NDIS legislation.

• There must be indicators that sit along-side the indicator of the number of people receiving plans, such as the number of reviews and appeals requested and consumer satisfaction with and an understanding of plans received.

• The Department of Health must continue to fund a low barrier to entry, flexible program for people living with a mental illness who will not be eligible for the NDIS.

• The planning process must be conducted by people with experience in and an understanding of mental health and culturally relevant factors; consumers must be able to view and understand a plan before it is finalised; and assessment and planning for people living with a mental illness or people who do not have English as a first or second language must be conducted face-to-face and not over the telephone, unless it is determined this is appropriate.

• Support for carers of people living with a mental illness should be separate to the NDIS.

• Quality assurance processes specifically tailored for psychosocial support services must be developed as a part of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework.

The CMHA submission can be accessed on the Productivity Commission website at http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/215038/sub0011-ndis-costs.pdf


Bulletin: NDIS and Mental Health: A Queensland Snapshot

In December 2016, the Health Advocate published an article co-authored by QAMH CEO Kris Trott and Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland CEO Jeremy Audas.

In the article NDIS and Mental Health: A Queensland Snapshot, the authors argue that the NDIS was not originally designed to meet the needs people who experience mental health issues, their family and carers, and discuss the issues that are now arising as a result.

They further discuss the issues service providers are experiencing as they enter into a service-focussed delivery model.

Read the article: NDIS and Mental Health: A Queensland Snapshot


Bulletin: Shortcomings of the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan

QAMH was one of 57 mental health sector organisations that wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister and First Ministers outlining the many shortcomings in the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

The authors draw attention to the ‘alarming gaps between previous commitments by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on mental health and the consultation draft for the Fifth National Mental Health Plan. They call on the First Ministers to ‘lead mental health reform by fundamentally reconceptualising the Fifth Plan’s vision in line with the principles to:

  1. Commit to meaningful improvements in the lives of consumers and carers
  2. Assign specific Ministerial responsibilities across portfolios, including health, social and community services, employment and education
  3. Reorient investment towards early intervention and prevention
  4. Expand and embed services in the community, close to need.


For more information, read the joint letter regarding the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan, or read Mental Health Australia’s corresponding media release.


Bulletin: Understanding the Impact of the Centrelink Debt Recovery Process

Recently there has been high media coverage of Centrelink’s debt recovery process, whereby many people are receiving notices about possible debts which are difficult to understand and may be wrong.

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) is keen to understand the extent of the issue and the impact it is having on the people receiving these notices so that it can advocate for appropriate changes with the national, state and territory Councils of Social Services across Australia.

Could you take a few minutes to let QCOSS know:

  • what you are hearing or experiencing in your community
  • if your organisation has been contacted by anyone who has received a notice and what the impact is or has been on that person, and
  • if your organisation is interested in speaking to the media about this issue?


If your clients need assistance you are not able to provide about this debit collection process please direct them to one of the following organistions listed on the QCOSS website.  They will continue to update this list as more information becomes available.

If you are providing support for people impacted by this issue and would like QCOSS to let other organisations know that they can refer clients to your organisation please let them know.

Karen Murphy will be collecting responses so please direct them to karenm@qcoss.org.au or give her a call on 07 3006 6913.


Bulletin: COAG Disability Reform Council Meeting Communique

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council (DRC) has released its 2 September meeting Communique.

The Communique notes the NDIA’s response to the issues that have arisen since the transition to the NDIS commenced on 1 July 2016. This includes the appointment of a Chief Operating Officer and the establishment of an NDIS Transition Management Team.

The DRC also ‘reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to the overarching National Disability Strategy 2010-2010’ and that ‘the soon-to-be estalished National Disability and Carers Advisory Council will oversee the National Disability Strategy implementation and report regularly to Council’ (COAG DRC Communique 2016).

Queensland was one of many Australian States to agree to the National Quality and Safeguarding Framework that ‘seeks to help participants resolve problems quickly, and strengthen the capability of NDIS participants, the workforce and providers to operate in the NDIS market’ (COAG DRC Communique 2016).

The DRC also decided to ‘enhance its oversight of the developing market for the NDIS’ and  ‘develop a number of market development indicators’ (COAG DRC Communique 2016).

For full details, Disability Reform Council, 2 September 2016 Communique.


NDIS: NDIS Operational Plan Released

The Operational Plan between the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Queensland Government and Commonwealth Government for the transition to the NDIS has now been released.

The primary purpose of this document is to operationalise the Queensland Bilateral Agreement, signed on 16 March 2016. According to the Operational Plan, it ‘identifies a program of work and the responsibilities of the parties during the transition to the NDIS’, and ‘outlines the implementation activities for the transition to full scheme in Queensland’.

Part one of the Plan addresses bilateral and national policy elements and Part two of the Plan addresses administration and service delivery operating model elements.

Access the NDIS Operational Plan.


Bulletin: Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards 2016

It’s your turn to shine!

The closing date to nominate someone for the 2016 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards has now been extended to 13 September!

Now in the fourth year, and a major event on the annual Queensland Mental Health Week calendar, the Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups, organisations and businesses who are devoted to improving the understanding and awareness of mental health and wellbeing right across Queensland.

The Awards are proudly organised by Open Minds, a leading not-for-profit organisation working alongside people to enhance their mental health and wellbeing. This year eight categories are up for grabs. You can nominate yourself, your organisation or another individual or organisation by downloading the Awards nomination pack or by contacting Open Minds for more information at: events@openminds.org.au.

2016 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement
Award Categories
  • Workplace Award – SME businesses (1-200 staff)
  • Workplace Award – Large businesses (201+ staff)
  • Media Award
  • Not-For-Profit Award – Small to medium (1-100 staff)
  • Not-For-Profit Award – Medium to large (101+ staff)
  • Jude Bugeja – Peer Experience Award
  • Individual Award
  • Youth Award (under 25)


The Awards will be presented at a special luncheon held during Queensland Mental Health Week.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Awards luncheon on Friday 14 October at Ithaca Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall. Tickets to the Awards luncheon will be available for purchase from Monday 1 August via the Open Minds website.

Open Minds looks forward to receiving your entries. Nominations close midnight on 13 September, with finalists announced by Friday 30 September. There is no fee to enter the Awards.


Bulletin: Productivity Commission 2017 NDIS Review Terms of Reference

On 18 August, we reported in our MH Sector Update that we endorsed a letter written by Mental Health Australia and Community Mental Health Australia about the Productivity Commission’s review of the NDIS in 2017. The letter was written to call on the Disability Reform Council (DRC) to consider certain issues, including mental health in the review terms of reference.

The DRC met last Friday to consider:

  • NDIS ICT issues and plan delays
  • the second report on the National Disability Strategy
  • a proposal for a national quality and safeguards framework.

You can read or listed to the DRC communique at Department of Social Services Disability and Carers webpage and read the Hon Christian Porter MP’s Media Release.

At the meeting, Minister Porter also released the independent review into the implementation of the MyPlace portal, after discussing the report and its recommendations with state and territory DRC members. Download the report.