The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, today announced the appointment of Monsignor David Cappo AO as Chair of the nation’s first National Mental Health Commission.
The appointment of Monsignor Cappo is a significant milestone in the delivery of the Gillard Government’s mental health reforms.
“As Chair of the Commission, Monsignor Cappo will work closely with the CEO and Commissioners, drawn from experts in a range of sectors, to provide independent advice to the Government on national mental health reform” Mr Butler said.
Monsignor Cappo has held several senior positions, including as a former national director of the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission, Beyond Blue and the former Deputy Chair of the National Mental Health Advisory Committee.
“Monsignor Cappo in his current position as Commissioner for Social Inclusion led the review of the South Australian mental health system. He has the knowledge and experience required to lead the Commission, and drive the long- term reforms necessary to improve the lives of people with a mental illness in Australia,” Mr Butler said.
The establishment of the first National Mental Health Commission signals a new approach to mental health leadership and reform in Australia.
“The new Commission will, for the first time, allow us to properly measure and independently report on what is happening in Australia’s mental health system – with the needs and experiences of consumers and carers placed at the very centre,” Monsignor Cappo said.
The Commission will play a key role in the Government’s commitment to long-term reforms in mental health. In summary, it will:
- manage and administer the Annual National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention;
- monitor and report on the performance of the mental health system including through ongoing evaluation of the Ten Year Roadmap for Mental Health Reform which is currently being developed;
- develop, collate and analyse data and reports from other sources including Commonwealth agencies reporting on progress - with a particular focus on ensuring a cross sectoral perspective is taken to mental health reform;
- provide mental health policy advice to Government in consultation with relevant agencies; and
- engage consumer and carers in mental health policy and service improvements.
“This will drive greater transparency and accountability in our mental health system and deliver better outcomes for consumers and carers,” Mr Butler said.
The Commission will report to the Prime Minister and its first task will be to produce a National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in 2012, delivering on a key election commitment of the Gillard Government.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has also appointed Mr Butler as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform, demonstrating the Government’s ongoing commitment to mental health reform.
This appointment also recognises that mental illness is not just a health issue, but is a whole-of-life issue.
The Government is continuing to consult the mental health sector, including consumers and carers, about the role of the new Commission. The Mental Health Council of Australia this week hosted a workshop, at the Minister’s request, preparing for the Commission’s commencement on 1 January 2012.
Through the 2011-12 Budget, the Gillard Government is investing $32 million over five years to establish the new Commission, which will be based in Sydney.