Select Committee members with local MP Deb Frecklington … from left, Member for Pumicestone Ali King (ALP), Member for Macalister Melissa McMahon (ALP), Member for Southport Rob Mulhoek (LNP), Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington (LNP), Member for Moggill Christian Rowan (LNP), Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm (LNP) and Member for South Brisbane Amy McMahon (Qld Greens)

April 21, 2022

A State Parliament Select Committee paid a whistlestop visit to Kingaroy on Wednesday to collect information about the mental health issues faced by the South Burnett community.

The MPs heard submissions from South Burnett CTC, the South Burnett Regional Council, the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Bunyarra Counselling at the public hearing held at the South Burnett Enterprise Centre.

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, who was also present, said the Committee was inquiring into ways to improve mental health outcomes for Queenslanders and it was critical the South Burnett was heard.

“Unfortunately, our region suffers from the impact of limited access to mental health services, and the highest suicide rate in Queensland,” Mrs Frecklington said.

“On behalf of the South Burnett, I urged the Committee to include us in their regional hearings. In fact, this was the first time a State Parliamentary Committee has travelled to the South Burnett for some time.

“The Kingaroy hearing was a chance to explain the significant barriers our community faces when they need mental health support, and other factors which also impact people, such as no public transport, no locally based paediatrician and the distance to specialist services.

“I would really like to thank the agencies who took part in the hearing.

“The evidence they presented was so powerful and will certainly inform the report prepared by the Committee for the State Parliament.

“They were able to shine a light on the gaps in mental health services in our region and the lack of mental health professionals, resulting in the burn-out of the overworked staff we do have.

“I think one of the key themes that came out of the hearing is that timely, face-to-face support for people who need mental health care is the key.

“I have always held the belief that just because we choose to live in a regional area, it doesn’t mean we should accept poorer health outcomes.

“This is especially relevant when it comes to access to mental health services by people from all parts of our community, from our farmers, to young people, to our businesses and families.”

The Select Committee has been conducting in-person hearings and video conferences with interested parties across Queensland since it was established late last year.

It is inquiring into the opportunities to improve mental health outcomes for Queenslanders and is due to report back to Parliament on May 31.

“I look forward to reading the report when it is handed down and the recommendations made by the Committee to the improve mental health outcomes for our community,” Mrs Frecklington said.

Hayden Mashford, Lee-Anne Reinbott and Nick Krauksts spoke on behalf of South Burnett CTC
Michael Sanford (Bunyarra Counselling) and Margie Hams (South Burnett Regional Council) also gave evidence before the Select Committee
KCCI president Damian Martoo and Bunyarra Counselling’s Michael Sanford, right, speaking to the committee members … the public hearing at the South Burnett Enterprise Centre was transcribed and will become available online
(Photo: Nanango Electorate Office)

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