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Australia’s first mental health commission launched

Commissioners will meet today to begin work on Australia’s first national report card on mental health.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, yesterday launched Australia's first National Mental Health Commission.

The Commission is led by the Chair, Professor Allan Fels and eight Commissioners, and will formally meet for the first time today to begin work on Australia's first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Butler said the launch marked a significant milestone in the rollout of the federal government’s mental health reforms and will give mental health the prominence it deserves at the national level.

Speaking at the official launch in Sydney, he said the commission would put Australia’s mental health services under the spotlight. “It will bring much needed transparency to our system it will give us insights into service gaps, where we need to do more and where services are working and working well.

"One of the Commission's first priorities will be to deliver the first annual National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention a key election commitment of the Gillard Government. This is important data that will allow us to monitor whether services are working effectively to deliver lasting outcomes for people with mental illness."

The Government has provided $32 million over five years for the establishment and operation of the Commission.

"The new Commission will advocate for the needs of consumers and carers, which should be at the front and centre of policy making. We want to ensure these needs are given the priority they warrant by all levels of government," Professor Fels said.

"Governments need to do better in mental health. We hope to help them do that by more clearly identifying the gaps in the system. Our wide variety of relationships and our independence from the agencies that fund and deliver mental health services will give us a unique perspective from which to provide our public reports and advice," he said.

The eight Commissioners are:
* Peter Bicknell;
* Jackie Crowe;
* Pat Dudgeon;
* Professor Ian Hickie AM;
* Rob Knowles AO;
* Janet Meagher AM;
* Samantha Mostyn; and
* Professor Ian Webster AO.

The CEO of the Commission is Robyn Kruk AM.

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