The Productivity Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into mental health. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) submission to this inquiry is now online.
Our submission focuses on two issues. First, it addresses features of the justice system, and Aboriginal people with disabilities. It then turns to considering the social security systems, and how these contribute to mental health issues in Australia.
Our submission recommends:
Recommendation 1: The mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should become a national priority, including with a COAG Closing the Gap target, in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Recommendation 2: Government should immediately implement the recommendations of the 1991 Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Recommendation 3: The Productivity Commission and Government should address the over-representation of people with mental health issues in prison, and improving conditions for people with disability in prisons, including safety, over-crowding and accessibility issues.
Recommendation 4: Government should invest in adequate healthcare and mental health care for prisoners.
Recommendation 5: The income support payments and indexation rates, particularly for Newstart, Youth Allowance, and Parenting Payment should be raised, so that people receiving them can have enough income to live above the poverty line, and the punitive aspects of jobactive and ParentsNext should be removed.
Recommendation 6: Suspend the ‘robo-debt’ scheme until such time as there has been a review into this machine learning tool so that if it continues, it will uphold the liberty of people affected.
The CCL submission to the Productivity Commission was prepared by Michael Brull, with assistance and edits by Human and Civil Rights Action Group Convenor, Simon Bruck.
Read the entire submission here.