PACFA steps up advocacy to Albanese Government

1 August 2022

PACFA will meet with the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Emma McBride, to advocate for key policy changes for counsellors and psychotherapists such as Medicare rebate access, NDIS price changes and GST removal.

The meeting with the Assistant Minister scheduled for 31 August follows a July meeting with senior representatives of the Federal Department of Health in Canberra as part of an Australian Register of Counselling and Psychotherapy (ARCAP) delegation.

President Dr Di Stow and CEO Johanna de Wever represented PACFA, speaking with Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health, Dr Ruth Vine, and key Department of Health staff about removing barriers for Australians to find mental health support from counsellors and psychotherapists.

PACFA leaders told the meeting that policy steps which open up access to the counselling and psychotherapy workforce would help meet Australians’ need for mental health services and create a more equitable environment for our well-qualified and highly experienced membership.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics National Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey, released on 22 July 2022 found that 2 in 5 of Australians aged 16-85 have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime.

One in 5 – 4.2 million – reported experiencing a 12-month mental disorder – a recurrence of symptoms experienced before, within the previous 12 months. Yet more than half (53%) did not access help from a health professional for their mental health.

The survey was conducted between December 2020 and July 2021.

PACFA contacted Assistant Minister McBride following the federal election in May, providing our Election Statement 2022 and seeking to meet on behalf of members. In August 2021 PACFA’s leadership presented to the Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, with Ms McBride as Deputy Chair.