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Suicide levels ‘an utter national disgrace’: Greg Hunt talks Productivity Commission into mental health spending

The Morrison Government has asked the Productivity Commission to conduct an inquiry into Australia’s mental health landscape.

Tasked with ascertaining whether the current mental health investment regime is delivering value for money, the inquiry was spurred on by recent suicide data. A set of alarming ABS figures revealed Australia’s suicide rate spiked to the equal-highest-rate in a decade last year, with 3,128 people taking their own life.

This is despite $9 billion a year being spent on mental health – some $1 million an hour.

Health Minister Greg Hunt tells Luke Grant he wants to make sure this expenditure is appropriately targeted, with the aim being to maximise the benefit of every dollar allocated to the sector.

“We’re doing an immense amount in mental health, but I think we can be more effective,” says Mr Hunt.

“We have to be up front and be clear that 3,100 people taking their life is just an utter national tragedy.”

“Each one of those lives will impact hundreds and hundreds of other people. The ripple flows out.”

“So we have to acknowledge and address and confront it.”

Mr Hunt also revealed he’s hoping for the Productivity Commission’s findings to be passed on by the middle of next year.

“We want it within 18 months. I’d like to have an interim report by next year, by the middle of the year.”

“The earlier the better.”

Click PLAY below to listen to the full interview: