National Social Housing Survey: Summary of National Results 2016: Spotlight News Issue 11

Image: National Social Housing Survey

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released the summary of national results for the 2016 National Social Housing Survey (NSHS). The NSHS sampled tenants in public housing, community housing and state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) between April and June 2016.

The results revealed that:

  • around 1 in 3 social housing households included at least 1 member with disability
  • all social housing programs used health and medical services most frequently, followed by mental health services.

For further information, read the National Social Housing Survey: Summary of National Results 2016.


Revised Mental Health Act 2016 Commencement Date

Queensland Health has today announced that the commencement date for the Mental Health Act (MHA) 2016 has been revised to 5 March 2017 due to some implementation challenges.

A special edition of the MHA Implementation Newsletters was released this morning to announce the change. It includes key dates from August 2016 to March 2017.

Read the MHA Implementation Special Edition Newsletter, 26 August 2016.



Productivity Commission Review of the NDIS: Terms of Reference

In July 2016, QAMH endorsed a letter written by Mental Health Australia (MHA) and Community Mental Health Australia about the Productivity Commission’s (PC) review of the NDIS in 2017. The letter was written to call on the Disability Reform Council to consider certain issues, including mental health in the review terms of reference.

MHA has now reported that the letter received positive responses. We are pleased to share the news that respondents included the Queensland Minister for Disability Services, Coralie O’Rourke MP and the ‘Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley MP.

Ms O’Rourke ‘said she would be very interested in the PC’s review exploring the interface between the NDIS and the mental health sector’. Furthermore, the ‘Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley MP has said that Victoria will strongly advocate that the terms of reference include examining the impacts of the NDIS on mainstream services, including mental health, and the capacity for NDIS providers to deliver high quality services’ (MHA 2016).

Obtaining responses like this is extremely rewarding and would not be possible without input from the sector. QAMH is actively involved in advocating for mainstreaming mental health into the NDIS and we invite you to take every opportunity to do the same.


Mental Health Non-Government Organisation Establishment Data Set

The Mental Health Non-Government Organisation Establishment Data Set (Data Set) is a new online reporting mechanism. It will be made mandatory for all funded organisations, except the Housing and Support Program, from the reporting period of 2016-2017, due on 31 October 2016.

The Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch (MHAODB) recently contacted all non-government mental health organisations funded by the Department of Health inviting them to participate in a pilot for the new online reporting mechanism. A number of these organisations participated in a pilot for the Data Set and provided feedback to the MHAODB about this process.

QAMH’s Business and Membership Development Manager, Sue Pope, has been liaising with the Clinical Systems Collections and Performance Unit to ensure that this process is as clear and seamless as possible for organisations.

QAMH will provide further information about this process in this MH Sector Update over the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns for feedback about the online reporting mechanism not previously provided to MHAODB, please contact Sue on 3252 9411 or via email.




Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

On 16 June 2016, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services the Hon Cameron Dick MP, introduced the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 into the Queensland Parliament. The bill was referred to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee for detailed consideration.

The explanatory notes to the Bill advise that the Bill would amend the Criminal Code and three health portfolio Acts. In particular, the Bill amends:

  • the Criminal Code to standardise the age of consent for sexual intercourse to 16 years, and to replace references to sodomy with anal intercourse
  • the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 to facilitate general practitioners having access to the Queensland Health database The Viewer and enable more efficient disclosure of confidential patient information for research purposes
  • the Public Health Act 2005 to: allow health information relating to deceased patients to be disclosed for research purposes
  • enable schools to share student information with school immunisation and oral health service providers to improve the uptake of the School Immunisation Program and School Dental Program
  • make consequential amendments to reflect changes to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register
  • the Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Making a submission

The committee is inviting submissions from the public to inform its consideration of the bill. Phone enquiries should be directed to  Written submissions should be emailed to or sent to:

Research Director Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee Parliament House George Street Brisbane Qld 4000

Submissions will be accepted until 4.00pm on 22 July 2016.

Further documentation

An information sheet with guidelines for making a submission

Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Explanatory Notes

Hansard Transcript of the Explanatory Speech

For further information regarding the Bill please visit the Queensland Parliament website.



Switched-On Communities Grant Program

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has opened applications for non-profit organisations to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 to get their community switched on.

The Switched on Communities grant program can be used to improve the access of information available to consumers to help them to understand and benefit from the competitive energy market. A total of $500,000 is available for non-profit organisations in South-East Queensland until 5 August 2016.

‘Successful organisations will be required to attend training at the beginning of the program on 30 and 31 August and give a final presentation and report about their outcomes at a one day wrap-up event on 20 June 2017’ (QCOSS 2016).

An information session will be held via webinar at 10.30 am on Thursday 21 July 2016.

Download the guidelines and application form.

For further information or to ask any questions about the Switched on Communities Grants please call Carly Hyde on 07 3004 6900 or email

To find out if your organisation’s location is eligible, see the map on the Energex website (link is external).

For information on energy literacy, including factsheets, webinars and other resources to get you started, visit QCOSS websiteCommunity Door (link is external) or the Queensland Government Energy Save (link is external).


Queensland Health Commits to Funding HASP, PSS & TRS

QAMH is pleased to announce that yesterday, Queensland Health agreed to continue to fund current mental health consumers who have been affected by the expiry of the National Partnership Agreement on Supporting Mental Health Reform

Funding for the Housing and Support Program (HASP), Personalised Support Services (PSS) and Transitional Recovery Services (TRS) were to cease after the Commonwealth Government did not announce any new funding in the federal budget for the existing National Partnership Agreement on supporting national mental health reform in its federal budget. This funded these important support and care programs for people with complex mental health issues.

QAMH congratulates the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, the Hon. Cameron Dick MP, the Acting Director-General Russell Bowles and the Queensland Health team for this excellent outcome. QAMH CEO, Kris Trott and other impacted organisations met with the Minister and the Queensland Health team at a Roundtable meeting when they received the advice that support for existing HASP, PSS and TRS clients will continue.

This service gap is an unintended consequence of the NDIS and Queensland Health is committed to the continuity of care for anyone currently receiving support under these programs, and ensuring they will be provided for into the future.

Without this funding continuation, people with existing chronic and persistent mental health needs would be significantly impacted, with many needing to return to hospitals.


Inquiry into the performance of the Queensland Health Ombudsman’s functions



On 27 June, the Committee resolved to conduct an inquiry into the performance of the Health Ombudsman’s functions pursuant to section 179 of the Health Ombudsman Act 2013.  Issues to be considered include:

  • the operation of the health service complaints management system;
  • ways in which the health service complaints management system might be improved;
  • the performance by the health ombudsman of the health ombudsman’s functions under Health Ombudsman Act 2013 Act;
  • review the National Boards’ and National Agency’s performance of their functions relating to the health, conduct and performance of registered health practitioners who provide health services in Queensland;
  • any other matter about the health service complaints management system.

Submissions invited
The Committee is seeking written submissions from the public and invites you and/or your organisation to make a written submission. You can submit by email or post to the Parliament House, George Street, Brisbane  Qld 4000.

Please see the information sheet for guidelines on making a submission. Further information regarding the inquiry is available on the Committee’s webpage.

Inquiry timeline
The inquiry timelines are as follows:

Submissions close on:                         4:00pm Monday 8 August, 2016
Public hearing/briefing date/s:        Venues and dates to be confirmed
Anticipated Reporting date:              Friday 28 October 2016

Public Departmental Briefing and Hearings
Details of public briefings and hearings are yet to be finalised.  This information will be included on the Committee’s website when available.  Where possible such briefings and hearings are broadcast live on the Committees’ website.

If you have any queries, please contact the Committee’s secretariat on (07) 3553 6626.  Further information about the Committee and its work is available at the Queensland Parliament Work of Committees website.


EOI Sought for the PIR Consumer and Carer Advisory Group

The Brisbane South PHN (BSPHN) Partners in Recovery (PIR) Consumer and Carer Advisory Group (CCAG) has been established to promote the inclusion and participation of consumers, families and carers in PIR Mental Health Services across the Brisbane South Region.

The CCAG is a working group of dedicated individuals passionate about driving change in the mental health sector. The CCAG currently has five active members and is looking to expand the group to ensure it is an inclusive and well represented group in order to carry out future tasks for BSPHN PIR. If you are interested in being involved please complete the Expression of Interest (EOI) form and return to BSPHN.


Australians Experiencing Deprivation and Equality

The Salvation Army has released its ‘Out of Reach’ report, based on the results of the fifth national Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS). This survey explores the disadvantages faced by people who access emergency relief services.

The ESIS revealed that high accommodation and housing costs were leaving some individuals to live on just $17 a day. The Salvation Army is calling on the Australian government to address the causes of disadvantage and inequality across the country through legislation and social policy changes.

It is important that such inequality and deprivation is addressed, and QAMH hopes to see the Australian government respond to the Salvation Army’s call.
Download the full report