Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington has raised the issues of better mental health services in the South Barnett, the need for a new Kingaroy hospital and more support for front-line officers in a speech to State Parliament.
Mrs Frecklington was speaking during the debate on Queensland’s new Mental Health laws this week.
“The issue of mental health is one that I am extremely passionate it – it is an issue that encouraged me not only to consider politics in the first place but to remain here,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“As far back as my maiden speech in State Parliament in 2012, I talked about the issue of mental health in rural and regional areas, and specifically the growing number of suicides that have occurred in and around the South Burnett.
“I have been determined to not only raise the issue of mental health, but also try to change these alarming statistics.”
Mrs Frecklington focused on a key part of the new Mental Health Legislation which provides clarification for ambulance and police officers assisting people in an emergency mental illness situation.
“One issue that goes to the heart of the matter is in relation to the role of ambulance and police officers in the assistance of people in an emergency mental illness situation.
“I commenced, with several other hardworking people, the South Burnett Suicide Prevention Group in Kingaroy because of this exact issue.
“Our police officers were constantly having to assist our hospital staff and ambulance officers whilst people were in quite serious stages of a situation.
“It is these front-line people who we really need to look out for. We need to listen to their stories and help them in their job. It is hard work.”
Mrs Frecklington said that access to mental health services in the South Burnett remained one of the key issues raised with her by the community.
She noted that while there are many groups working hard to make a difference, some key projects were required to implement real change.
“We need a brand new public hospital for Kingaroy, with safe room facilities and an improved emergency department so hospital staff can safely and carefully treat people who present with severe mental health problems,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“And secondly, I really want to see a South Burnett Clubhouse established in Kingaroy.”
Mr Frecklington said she had been working with local agencies for several years to establish a Clubhouse model of mental health care for the South Burnett.
She said it would be modelled on the Toowoomba Clubhouse, which has been running for more than ten years and has successfully encouraged people with mental health problems to integrate back into our community.
“The South Burnett Clubhouse was a fully costed and funded project under our former LNP government. But disappointingly, it was axed by Labor.
“It is a project which would have benefitted the people of my electorate enormously and it needs funding.
“I will continue to fight for it and get this model of care up and running.” Deb said.