Mental Health Bill needs more work, say WA Greens
21 March 2012
Progress on the draft Mental Health Act must not be rushed and needs to be seriously amended to reflect the concerns of stakeholders, according to WA Greens Spokesperson for Mental Health Alison Xamon who last night spoke on the matter in Parliament.
Ms Xamon, who has made a submission on the draft legislation, said the existing mental health legislation was clearly out-of-date and in need of urgent reform.
“However, despite people’s legitimate concerns about the existing Mental Health Act, the review process must not be rushed, because there is still considerable concern, even with the new draft legislation,” Ms Xamon said.
“This legislation covers some of the most vulnerable members of our community and it is important that we get it right. There must be adequate protections and safeguards.
“The Minister may feel a pressing need to introduce this Bill to Parliament but I believe it would be a mistake to rush.
“It has become clear that there is considerable concern from consumers, carers and professionals working in the field, about several aspects of this Bill.
“There are still some important things we need to change – for example in its current form the draft Bill seriously impedes the ordinary rights of people with mental illness.
“There are also concerns about the loss of independent inspection and monitoring of mental health services.
“A real failing of this Bill is that it has not been drafted in conjunction with the desperately needed reform of the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act.
“The Bill also needs to better recognise the needs of people who also have a disability or other issues such as drug or alcohol use.
“I urge the Minister to take the time needed to address legitimate concerns raised about the Bill, to ensure that critically important safeguards are established and to advise mental health stakeholders as to what the process will be from here in response to the submissions,” Ms Xamon concluded.
Public submissions on the draft Bill closed on March 9.
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering