15 Aug 2017

Coleman 'prepared to discuss' suicide target with Cabinet

From Morning Report, 7:27 am on 15 August 2017

In response to demands for increased pay for mental health workers, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman tells us it was a "mutual agreement" in the pay equity settlement that those staff were left out. 

Dr Coleman also discusses the government's $100m mental health funding announcement.

He says he's now changed his thinking on having a target for suicide.

"I'm open-minded about the whole thing. We're just waiting for the summary of the public feedback on the suicide strategy consultation and I'm quite prepared to go to my Cabinet colleagues and discuss having a suicide target.

"It's quite likely I will. It will be an aspirational target… It's got to be a whole of society target, the government can't solve this issue just by itself," he told Guyon Espiner.

Later on Morning Report the Public Service Association's Erin Polaczuk said when the pay equity settlement was made for care workers, the union could not get the government to agree on including mental health staff.

"The only other option we had was to hold back a payment for 55,000 other workers in the sector until the government capitulated." 

Listen to the interview with the Health Minister via the link above, and the interview with Erin Polaczuk via the link below.