Mental health and disability initiatives in South Australia (SA) will be boosted by $41.5 million in funding over four years thanks to the state’s Dignity Party.
The cash injection comes after Member of the Legislative Council Kelly Vincent and SA treasurer Tom Koutsantonis came to an agreement over the terms of the funding in a series of meetings across several weeks.
“The Dignity Party, first and foremost, aims to ensure all South Australians can access high quality healthcare, and disability supports and programs,” Ms Vincent says.
The Dignity Party will support the treasurer’s bank tax as part of the deal which will see the establishment and reintroduction of programs.
Major projects include a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Centre of Excellence and a return of the Intensive Home Based Support Service (IHBSS) mental health program.
“There are up to 68,000 people with Borderline Personality Disorder in South Australia – and there are between one and four people that might be key support people, or family carers, for those with this mental illness diagnosis so the improvement in service could be impacting around 250,000 South Australians,” Ms Vincent says.
“Many thousands of South Australians with mental illness were in receipt of IHBSS funding before the program was canned – and we know it provides excellent outcomes in preventing hospitalisations for people experiencing very poor mental health.”
“I cannot stand by and watch young lives lost to suicide, a lack of disability support, families in crises or people being unable to access effective mental health programs so I have insisted that the Treasurer spend the takings from his bank tax on South Australians that most need it,”
The BPD Centre is expected to be up and running in the coming months after tendering and contract negotiations with service providers and staff are complete.
About $5.9m will be spent to maintain the cross-Departmental Exceptional Needs Unit (ENU) while the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) continues to roll out in South Australia.
Thee ENU helps to plug the gaps for people with disabilities who have not been able to receive essential support from other services.
A further $6.6 million will help to continue funding the Centre for Disability Health located in Adealide’s northeast.
“Hundreds of children, young people and adults with severe to profound disabilities use the Centre for Disability Health at Modbury for essential health care services with the support of their families, and they will be able to continue to do this as I have secured funding until 2021,” Ms Vincent says.