Mental health gets healthy $1.5 billion

The mentally ill are the most invisible of sufferers in our society and this has often been reflected in government policy and funding.

Having worked for years at a grassroots level with the chronically mentally ill, there are few issues I feel more strongly about than increasing support for people with mental illness, their families and those who care for and treat them.

Keep reading to see what Treasurer Wayne Swan said about his mental health funding initiatives in tonight’s 2011 federal budget speech.

And check some early response to the announcement in this report from the ABC. It qualifies Mr Swan’s announcement by showing that the funding is slow to be rolled out and there will be other losses along the way.

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School chaplaincy gets promised $222 million

The promised $222 million extension of the school chaplaincy program is part of more than $870 million invested in Australian schools in tonight’s federal budget delivered by Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Rewarding Australia’s top school teachers heads school funding initiatives with $425 million while helping disabled school students attracted $200 million.

Read the Sky News report on education funding in the 2011 federal budget.

Tonight’s federal announcement follows the Victorian Government’s announcement on Friday of an additional $200,000 to train chaplains for Victorian schools.

Read the Australian Christian Lobby’s response to the Victorian announcement.

Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory…

The Sydney Morning Herald has taken a cheap shot at Hillsong and the Seventh Day Adventist church by linking them to federal budget legislation that ‘will put a lid on the practice of so-called charities using their tax-free status to  generate business income for no charitable purpose whatsoever.’ (SMH, May 11, pg 4)
The story reports on changes to legislation expected in Tuesday’s budget which will require not-for profit organisations to pay tax on profits kept for commercial purposes.
The article then lumped Hillsong and the Seventh Day Adventist Church into that category: ‘The Hillsong church has links with the Gloria Jean’s coffee shop franchise,  while the cereal company Sanitarium is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist  Church.’
The SMH has been like a rabid conspiracy theorist in relation to Gloria Jeans and Hillsong for some time and failed again to acknowledge or understand that the fact that the owner of Gloria Jeans attends Hillsong does not equate to the church owning the business. Hence the nebulous ‘has links’ in the article. If every charity or church is to have its tax status changed because it has ‘links’ with a business, then most would be impacted.Read More »