Coalition welcomes construction of new Wagga Wagga mental health facility

FEDERAL Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, today welcomed the first stage of construction for Wagga Wagga’s new mental health facility.

The National Rural Health Alliance says rural suicide rates are twice as prevalent as those in major metropolitan centres. This new centre aims to address those statistics. 

"The statistics show better services for mental health in regional areas is vital," Mr McCormack said.

"The announcement of a mental health facility in Wagga Wagga will help address the region's growing mental health needs and ensure people from the Riverina do not have to travel to the city to get adequate treatment."

"I recently received a petition with some 2,400 signatures for a Head Space facility at Griffith. I will present this petition to Parliament and will continue to fight for this crucial service to be extended to the western Riverina." 

"Both at state and federal levels, the Coalition is serious about getting better health services for regional, rural and remote areas," Mr McCormack said.

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health Services and Indigenous Health, Dr Andrew Laming, also welcomed the initiative.

"This new mental health facility, along with the NSW Government’s new Rural Generalist Pathway, demonstrates an ongoing commitment by the NSW Coalition Government to providing sustainable healthcare for regional and rural Australians; something which had been sadly lacking by the previous Labor Governments," Dr Laming said.

Mr McCormack and Dr Laming said there is a genuine concern by the Federal Coalition for mental health issues within communities.

The Coalition’s health plans provide greater support for better mental health services, with Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPICs); boosting of basic and applied research into mental health and new Head Space sites, alongside better training and employment opportunities for mental health workers in regional areas.

Dr Laming visited the Riverina earlier this month, where he met with Mr McCormack and NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health, Melinda Pavey, alongside local medical professionals to discuss the Riverina’s health services.

Cristy Houghton