Townsville will be the location of a $14 million walk-in adult community mental health centre funded through the Morrison Government’s record-breaking $736 million mental health Budget measure.

The new centre will provide much needed support individuals seeking help, particularly in times of crisis.

One in five Australians experience a common mental disorder each year and almost half of us will face some form of mental health problem during our lives. This is of particular importance to the Townsville community and its defence force personnel.

The Morrison Government will delver $114.5 million for eight walk-in community mental health centres, with one located in each state and territory to trial which model works best for the needs of their particular community.

Announcing Townsville as the location of Queensland’s centre, LNP candidate for Herbert, Phillip Thompson, said “I am delighted that our community’s advocacy for further mental health services has been acknowledged and rewarded by the Morrison Government.

As many people know, this is a very personal issue and I understand the importance of having easily accessible services.”

The centre will operate over extended hours. People will be able to walk in without a prior appointment and have access to treatment, advice, and support provided by a range of mental health professionals.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said “In guaranteeing these centres through the Budget, we have recognised that Australia needs a comprehensive, inclusive mental health system that caters for everyone, regardless of their age, or needs. It’s part of our plan to deliver a comprehensive mental health system in Australia.”

The mental health centres will ensure that people are provided with appropriate immediate support, but are also connected to pathways of less urgent longer-term care by integrating with other local community services including GPs, local Primary Health Network (PHN) services, and state-operated services. The centres will also be able to assist people to access related health and social services.

Work on the design and branding of the national network is expected to begin later this year, with the first centres expected to begin operations in 2021.

The Liberal National Government was the first to designate mental health as one of the four key pillars of the health care system and is prioritising better mental health for all Australians by investing a record $4.8 billion in mental health this financial year alone.

This important announcement builds on several significant investment to support the health of people living in the Townsville region, including:

  • Greater hospital and health services and infrastructure, with $13 million for 33 additional beds at Townsville Hospital to help meet increasing demand and provide a new in-patient ward allowing for treatment closer to home and $9 million for a new Maternity and Neo-Natal unit at the Mater Hospital to improve important health services for residents and people in the surrounding Townsville region.
  • Better mental health support, for people living in Northern and Western Queensland impacted by the recent floods, including through telehealth, with an investment of $26.9 million.
  • More funding for preventative health, with $12 million for the Heart of Australia to support and expand mobile cardiology and other services, including a third mobile clinic to service Northern Queensland and the Cape.
  • Drug and alcohol services, including $700,000 for a new community residential withdrawal management service in Townsville and $5.9 million for the Salvation Army to build a 10 bed detox facility in Townsville and fund an additional 8 residential rehab beds.
  • Spinal cord injury, $24 million for a Queensland-wide program aimed at giving new hope and support to people living with brain and spinal cord injuries with a new rehabilitation centre developed in Townsville.

We are determined to keep Australians safe and well. But record investment in can only come from good economic management. Our Government’s strong economic management ensures that Australia can maintain its world-leading health system and maintain the vital services we need to protect and save lives.