Radio interview with Assistant Minister McBride and Rebecca Levingston, ABC Radio Brisbane - 24 August 2023

Read the transcript of Assistant Minister McBride's interview with Rebecca Levingston on family, domestic and sexual violence pilots.

The Hon Emma McBride MP
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Assistant Minister Rural and Regional Health

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REBECCA LEVINGSTON, HOST: The Federal Government has announced it will invest more than $100 million in pilot programmes to support victim survivors of domestic and family or sexual violence. The programmes will be run through primary health networks across the country and one of the areas of focus is in Brisbane South, which is what has brought Emma McBride, the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, to your city today. Emma, good morning.

EMMA MCBRIDE, ASSISTANT MINISTER: Thank you, Rebecca. Good to be with you.

LEVINGSTON: So, what is this money going to be spent on?

MCBRIDE: So, this is an investment of over $100 million from the Federal Government in women's safety. It's a national priority and we're making sure that every woman, wherever they live, is safe. We know that last year in Australia, 57 women were killed by domestic violence, and so, this funding will go towards two different pilots. One is for primary care to make sure that general practitioners have the right support to be able to help with early identification, the right kind of treatment and referrals to link them in better with the family and domestic violence sector. The other part of the funding is for recovery. We know that trauma associated with family, domestic, and sexual violence can emerge at any time in someone's life and we want to make sure that across the lifespan, any people impacted by it have access to free trauma-informed mental health care and support.

LEVINGSTON: So what area does Brisbane South take in?

MCBRIDE: Brisbane South is within that primary health network, within that catchment region, and we'll be down at the Inclusive Health and Wellness Hub this morning. For Brisbane South they're part of both of these pilots. They are part of the original supporting primary care pilot, which will be expanded and they're also part of the new recovery pilot. So, it will make a really big difference to women and children living within that catchment area around the broader Brisbane South region. It's important to note with this boost in funding though, that these programmes will now be in metro areas, in regional areas and remote areas, so expanded to every state and territory across Australia.

LEVINGSTON: And I know you're not from Brisbane, but do you know exactly where that location is that you're going to this morning?

MCBRIDE: So this one will be it's the inclusive Health and Wellness hub which is in Brisbane South.

LEVINGSTON: Okay. Yeah, because there's a suburb called South Brisbane. But Brisbane South I think is a kind of a health network.

MCBRIDE: This is the one in Hope Street, it's the one that we'll be going to this morning.

LEVINGSTON: So that is in South Brisbane. Got it. Emma McBride, the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Brisbane today to launch this $100 million pilot programme across the country but it includes South Brisbane to help people in situations where they've survived family, domestic or sexual violence. I mean no matter the industry and certainly within health and mental health, we are hearing about shortages of qualified staff and also very long wait times How are you going to navigate that as you introduce this?

MCBRIDE: So with this program, the supporting primary care, it will be supporting existing general practices to make sure that they have the additional support they need for that early identification, treatment and care. And with the new recovery programme, the primary health networks will identify existing services, whether they can embed, then specialist mental health staff to make sure that we have this additional support. But in terms of the broader mental health workforce, we've made over a $90 million investment in the budget for that work pipeline because we know that there are long wait times and that is really critical in someone being able to have long term recovery and healing from mental health and also that for periods of where people are seeking support but don't receive it, that they're likely to then experience anxiety and depression or sometimes longer term post-traumatic stress disorder.

LEVINGSTON: In terms of people being able to get in, I guess this is a question more broadly about your role as the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. We also are hearing about very long wait times for children to access those kinds of services. Is there anything that you're also doing there to try and reduce some of those wait times?

MCBRIDE: Yes, absolutely. We know that distress is increasing amongst children and emerging younger in life. So, we're working with the states and territories on now more than 17 kids hubs around Australia, which will provide from 0 to 12, that family and developmental support for children and families. We're also strengthening the Headspace network across Australia. There are now more than 150 headspaces around Australia and we're working with Headspace to strengthen that model so that young people, particularly those that live outside of major cities, can get that support and care when and where they need it.

LEVINGSTON: People, families are desperately trying to access those services. And similarly, you know, to the programmes you're announcing today, if people are in crisis now and they can't access a mental health professional or the kind of allied health that they need, what do they do?

MCBRIDE: We know that this is something that all Australians are really concerned about, and we're working as quickly as we can to make sure that we introduce programmes that are safe, that are able to be implemented, and that are effective. So right now, I would encourage someone, if they're experiencing family and sexual violence, if they're in immediate danger, to call Triple Zero if they need more sort of longer-term guidance and support to call 1800 RESPECT. And I would encourage them to see their GP. We know that in any given week a GP working full time is likely to see five women who have experienced family, sexual, or domestic violence in the previous 12 months. So, we're making sure that we're boosting primary care to be able to strengthen that first response because it's often the first place after a family or a friend that someone will go to seek any sort of guidance and support.

LEVINGSTON: For most of the last decade, there has been a real focus and an understanding of the causes of domestic and family violence, you know, a genuine effort from all levels of government and communities to address it. And yet it's still seems to fester and to flourish for lack of a better word. How are you going to measure the success of this programme that you're introducing in Brisbane today?

MCBRIDE: An important part of this programme will be a thorough evaluation. As you mentioned, there has been an increasing national priority and focus on reducing family, sexual and domestic violence and our government has announced a national plan to end violence against women and children and it's our goal to be able to reduce it within a generation. And we're working across government. So Minister Jason Clare has set up a working group, particularly focused on what's happening in campuses, because in campuses people work there as well as live there. Just yesterday, the Attorney General and the Social Services Minister and the Minister for Women held a roundtable with Commonwealth, state, and territory governments to look at strengthening the justice response. So, we're working across justice, across social services, within education and workplaces and within health so that we have a genuine, much more joined up and whole of government, but whole of society approach to reducing this gouge.

LEVINGSTON: Really appreciate your time. Thanks. Emma McBride, the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. So today, the Federal Government investing more than $100 million in pilot programmes, $67 million in a programme called Supporting Recovery, another $36 million put towards the Primary Care Response to Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence pilot.

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