APY LANDS, MENTAL HEALTH

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(15:00:33): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs a question regarding the development of a stand-alone mental health plan for the APY lands.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: On 22 March 2004 an internal memorandum written for the then minister for health, by then South Australian health director for mental health programs, Dr Jonathon Philips, highlighted 'the strong clinical evidence that the prevalence of mental health problems amongst Anangu is high', and that there was 'no capacity for live-in mental health facilities' on the APY lands.

Dr Philips' concerns were shared by Nganampa Health Council in 2006, recognising that mental health was 'an increasingly important issue for APY communities'. The issue of mental health and lack of treatment options was also reinforced in April 2008 by recommendation 16 of the Mullighan inquiry into child sexual abuse on the APY lands that called for a 'substantial increase in services on the lands for persons with mental health issues'.

The need for a stand-alone mental health plan for the APY lands was eventually identified by SA Health in October 2009, and work on the plan for which the government had committed $600,000 over five years was commenced in 2010 by Country Health SA. On 16 November 2010 the then minister for health advised that this plan would be completed by 31 March 2011. However, approximately three months later on 9 June 2011 the then minister advised that the dedicated APY mental health plan was to be incorporated into a statewide Aboriginal health improvement plan that was to be finalised by the end of 2011.

In 2012 the government released the South Australian suicide prevention strategy 2012-16, entitled Every Life is Worth Living. On page 32, under goal 2, which is 'to provide a sustainable coordinated approach to service delivery resources and information within communities to prevent suicide', the second action point for object 2.2.1 in the document states:

To develop a stand-alone APY mental health plan that addresses social determinants of suicide.

From this statement it appeared that the government had put a stand-alone APY lands mental health plan back on the table. However, with only one year left to run on this strategy, it appears that once again no stand-alone plan has been developed. My questions are:

1.Why has the government had such a truncated approach to the development of an APY lands mental health plan since it was originally raised with the then health minister by his own department in 2004?

2.Will a stand-alone plan for mental health in the APY lands that addresses social determinants be developed by the government during the life of the 2012-16 SA suicide prevention strategy?

3.If a plan is being developed or is planned to be developed, when can the community expect to see a draft and when can we then expect to see it implemented?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER(Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)(15:04:21): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing commitment, as is often demonstrated in this place, in relation to mental health and particularly suicide prevention. The portfolio area this falls into specifically is health. I do not have information here directly on the matters about a standalone health facility and what has happened over the last decade, but I will take this question back to the Minister for Health, who is responsible in these areas, and bring back a reply to the honourable member as soon as I can.

While I am on my feet, a question was asked earlier by the Hon. Stephen Wade in relation to various reports being put on the APY website. I am pleased to be able to inform the member, so that we do not have to come back and answer this question at a later date, that many of the things he asked about are in fact up on the AP website. I have visited the website on my phone over the last 15 minutes, and minutes of the monthly meetings of the APY are now going up on the website.

I note that the January and February minutes from this year are up, and most of last year are up. I am informed that the March minutes will go up in the very near future. Previous annual APY reports are now up on the website, including the 2012-13 annual report, and I think they are now up for many past years going back to, I think, 2005-06. The specific report—

The Hon. S.G. Wade: What about 13-14?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The Hon. Stephen Wade does interject. I am trying to be respectful and answer as quickly as I can, and if you would let me answer—

The PRESIDENT: The honourable minister, just get on with your answer please and, the Hon. Mr Wade, let him finish his answer.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Thank you, Mr President. In relation to the 2013-14 annual report, I am informed that it is still to be ratified by the APY Executive Board but will be in the very near future and then will be out on the website. In relation to various financial reports, I am informed that the new interim general manager is receiving advice and help to make sure that financial statements and reports can go up as soon as possible. The extra accountability and transparency measures are being met or action is being taken to meet them and, as I previously said, I am optimistic that things are headed in the right direction and that some of the previous problems are being overcome.