Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

World Suicide Prevention Day – Bringing Experts Together to Tackle Suicide

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform
    The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health

On World Suicide Prevention Day, the Gillard Labor Government announced a range of new measures aimed at strengthening its efforts to tackle suicide in the community.

The Government announced it will:

  • continue and expand the membership of the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council (ASPAC) until 2014;
  • develop Australia’s first Indigenous Suicide Prevention Strategy; and
  • establish a new Indigenous Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.

Mr Butler said the ASPAC would build on its achievements from its first term and continue to provide expert advice to the Government.

“The ASPAC will provide advice on the implementation of our Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package and National Suicide Prevention Program, which together will deliver $231.6 million to vital programs and services over the next four years.”

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said the new Indigenous Suicide Prevention Advisory Group will provide critical advice to the Government.

“The group will focus on what needs to be done to reduce the impact of suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – including improving prevention, early intervention and support services.

“The former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, will chair the group. Mr Calma has extensive experience in Indigenous policy development and is the Australian Government’s National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking.”

Mr Butler said the Government has specifically allocated $6 million to support new community based prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities under the Taking Action to Tackle Suicide package.

“The new Advisory Group will also advise the Government on the best way to prioritise and allocate this $6 million investment,” he said.

“Together, the new Advisory Group and ASPAC will also develop a Suicide Prevention Strategy specific to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and their communities – an Australian first.”

“The establishment of this Advisory Group is a clear signal that the Government is taking an approach to suicide prevention based on collaboration, respect and a genuine willingness to listen.”

“The high rate of indigenous suicide is a tragedy which we are determined to tackle,” Ms Macklin said.

“Today’s initiatives will make a difference to people’s lives and build on our investments in mental health in the 2011-12 Budget, as well as the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.”

The Gillard Labor Government recognises the importance of preventing suicide and is making the largest investment in mental health in the nation’s history, doubling efforts in this area.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates our resolve to tackle suicide in the community and make mental health a priority for this term of government.