This week we finalised our submission to the Psychology Board's consultation on the draft Code of Conduct. Over the course of many member consultations, it was apparent that AAPi could not support the draft Code of Conduct without significant amendments. AAPi has recommended that the Code of Conduct should be co-created with broader and diverse groups of practising psychologists to develop a simplified code that is more representative, practical, and inclusive.
AAPi continues to take a lead role in advocating for increased access to psychologists. 10 Medicare sessions a year is not sufficient and is not evidence-based. We have been able to successfully present a significant number of questions to the Government through the Community Affairs committee. These questions must be answered by the Government. Some of the Questions on Notice include:
- Does the Department agree that there is currently an increasing demand and unmet need for mental health support services in Australia?
- The Evaluation of the Better Access initiative was published on 12 December 2022. Has the Government formally adopted the recommendations in that report? If not, when does the Government intend to formally respond to the recommendations?
- Recommendation 12 of the Better Access report ''The additional 10 sessions should continue to be made available and should be targeted towards those with complex mental health needs.'' As the Minister has already announced that the additional 10 sessions will not continue to be made available, can the Department confirm that the Minister formally rejected this recommendation, and when and how he made this decision? Was the decision considered by Cabinet?
- Given that the Better Access evaluation did not recommend that the additional 10 sessions cease, on what basis was this decision made by the Minister?
- Did the Government undertake consultation following the evaluation of the Better Access initiative, particularly pertaining to Recommendation 12?
- Did the Minister personally consult with key peak bodies before announcing cuts to the Better Access initiative? If so, can you provide the dates and details of that consultation?
- Can the Minister confirm how many mental health organisations, mental health professional associations, mental health professionals, advocates or those with lived experience have contacted the Minister's office seeking reinstation of these sessions?
- How many psychologists or mental health professionals have contacted the Minister's Office since he made this decision?
- How many items of Ministerial Correspondence has the Minister's Office received on the decision to revert from 20 to 10 Medicare sessions?
We will keep you informed of the Government's response.
The NDIS continues to remain another priority advocacy area for AAPi, and you can read further detail about our latest NDIS submission in this newsletter.
AAPi works with all levels of Government. This week we are meeting with several state premiers, including NSW Premier Chris Minns, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas, WA Premier Roger Cook and QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
As you will read throughout the rest of the newsletter, we are tirelessly engaging with stakeholders through advocacy, lobbying, submissions, inquiries, working groups, and consultations - to support our members, and advance the industry towards a fair and robust psychology profession.
We are a community that values and champions every psychologist. We're here to make a difference, and we're here for you.