Well, good afternoon everyone. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome the Health Minister Greg Hunt to the Peel region, specifically at the Billy Dower Centre today in Mandurah.
It’s a very important announcement that he’s about to make, but I just want to seed it within the larger story of the last 18 months.
Eighteen months ago, we started campaigning to have the Peel Youth Medical Service Health Hub established here in Mandurah.
In April, a group of local community leaders across both sides of politics, local, state and federal, met the Prime Minister and advocated strongly for funding for the PYMS Health Club.
In July we were granted $2 million, and subsequently the McGowan Government has committed $5 million. And today the Minister is here to announce a very important piece of that story, and I’ll hand over to you, but first of all thank you very much for engaging with us, for listening to what we had to say.
I’d also like to congratulate the PYMS team here, led by Eleanor Britton, for the work that you did building the petition, and also the City of Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone for her work in providing land for the PYMS Health Club. Over to you, Minister.
Great. Thanks very much to Andrew. I am delighted to announce that the Australian Government will support a new headspace for Mandurah.
This is about protecting our young people, giving them a safe space and a headspace, and it’s about giving them the opportunity in the dark moments to see a point of light.
I particularly want to congratulate Eleanor and all of the team from GP Down South, who have done an amazing job, to Marina, as mayor, the support that the city is giving is exceptionally important, and to our youth reference group and all of the workers here at PYMS.
This is very particularly about a great national challenge, mental health, and in particular, youth mental health. We’ve seen in Mandurah some terrible tragedies, Andrew’s advocacy, Eleanor’s work, the support of PYMS, GP Down South, and the council have all come together to make a case that here is a challenge and here is a solution.
And our role is to provide $3 million over four years for a new Mandurah headspace. It’s the right thing to do, and I’m really thrilled, Andrew, that your work and Eleanor’s work and the community’s work is being recognised, and this will contribute to protecting our young people. Would you like to say something?
Thank you very much. We’re really honoured to have this announcement today. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the community to move on and take control and change young peoples’ lives in the community.
I particularly want to thank everyone who signed the petition, the community’s support. We’ve got families, friends, parents of young people who have signed that petition who have committed suicide. It’s been a massive effect on the communities and we know that the need is still there, but hopefully we can now address that need.
Great. And Madame Mayor do you want to add anything?
I just want to say that I am absolutely thrilled. On behalf of all the councillors as well as the City of Mandurah, we have really gotten behind this from day one.
We are the largest regional city in Western Australia. Twenty-five per cent of our population is under 25, so we have a massive need for this, and to have it all coming together with headspace, with PYMS, it means that we’re going to have a health service that is going to be able to identify other issues and all be pooled together under one roof. And I think this is fantastic. We so need this down here.
Okay. Happy to take any questions.
Minister, how long do you think before we’re up and running?
So officially it’s 12 months. I am hopeful, and we’ve discussed upstairs, whether we can get it running unofficially well within that time.
I’m very impressed with the headspace services, the GP services, and PYMS, as well as the PHN – the Primary Health Network. Put those together and secretly I’d like to get it done this calendar year, officially it’s 1 July next year.
So that’s up to Andrew to help mobilise the team, but every time he’s been given a task he’s overachieving.
But just to confirm, it will be in the Peel PYMS Health Hub?
Correct. So it will be in the PYMS Health Hub. That’s under construction and it will have a temporary home here until the construction is complete. The official start date is 1 July next year. The unofficial goal is to try to get it up and running as soon as possible.
The $3 million of federal funding, is that going towards the construction?
There’s $2 million that’s already going to construction. Of our 3 million, 450,000 will go to the fit-out of the centre, and then it’s almost $850,000 a year for the next three years, which is the budget cycle, but that will be funded in perpetuity.
And what is it about headspace that convinced you this was a necessary (inaudible).
So the thing about Headspace is it gets young people and young people get it. So, I know Pat McGorry well, he is just a hero to young people.
They talk about him. They know that he understands and gets them. The same thing with Tim (inaudible). Why did young people flock and warm to him?
Because he was just inside their minds. He understood them, and it’s the same thing with, not just Pat McGorry, but the whole of the headspace movement is built around young people and for young people and it protects young people.
Do you have any idea of the amount of staff that they’re getting at this facility?
Well, I’ll leave that to the GPs to talk about how you imagine it.
So what happens from here, and the reason we are just being a little cautious on the numbers, we go out and commission the services, and that will begin almost immediately.
We’ll do the design with the local community, but we’ll commission the services and, depending on that, we’ll have a final number. The interesting thing is headspace will be a beachhead within PYMS, and that allows the multiplier effect.
This is something that’s being driven from the bottom up. It’s a very special moment, particularly where Eleanor presented the Minister with 3000 signatures, a big wad of paper, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for how much people want these services in the Peel region.
So it’s a very special moment because it’s a grassroots movement that’s brought this to fruition.
You pushed for this didn’t you?
Absolutely. I’m just a guy who represents Canning in Canberra, but it’s really being driven from the people who live in this area and more broadly the Peel region.
I do have to say to describe as Andrew pushing for it is an understatement. Andrew has certain skills, he’s played all of them on me to ensure this happened. He is a fabulous advocate. The real thing is, when you have a combination of an MP and a community together that’s an almost unstoppable force.
One quick question, mate. Since the beginning of last year there’s been a lot of tragedies, but is this definitely something that you foresee will have an impact? And is that the experience of headspaces around the country?
We just met with about 16 or 17 principals in the whole Peel region in my office. They briefed the Minister directly, had a really good discussion. Yes, this will be an important part of preventing youth suicide in the area, and I think you could talk more broadly about the national …
Yeah, so it’s not just the services, it actually operates as a point of light. And you say, well, why would that be?
Because headspace is so well respected and understood, look at that and say, hey, they care about me and I’ve got somewhere to go.
By its sheer existence, it provides a point of life to young people, and then through its operation it’s a point of respite and contact for those that are most in need.
Which is why we put it near the Mandurah Train Station, which is a transit area. All the buses terminate there.
So if young people are struggling they know they can get on a bus, get to Mandurah Train Station, walk across the road, and there will be a headspace – a place where they can seek refuge.
Okay. Thank you very much.