Boost to mental health support for FIFO and DIDO workers

The Morrison Government will provide $6 million to MATES in Construction to boost support in mental health and wellbeing for remote workers in the construction, mining, energy and manufacturing industries.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said MATES in Construction will work with these industries to drive better mental health and suicide prevention in the Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) and the Drive In, Drive Out (DIDO) workforce. 

“Australian FIFO workers spend great amounts of time away from family, friends and loved ones throughout their working lives, which can cause mental health concerns,” Minister Hunt said.

“These workers experience higher levels of psychological distress—including anxiety and depression—with 33% of FIFO workers reporting ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of psychological distress.

“Our Government recognises the strain FIFO and DIDO work can cause and we are committed to working with groups like MATES in Construction to ensure these workers have access to the support they need.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the program would help reduce the suicide rate, particularly for men who represent 75 per cent of all suicides.

“This program builds on the Government’s commitment to work towards zero suicides and reduce suicidal behaviour across the Australian population,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“In particular, the program aims to improve the mental health of workers in industries with a high male presence.

“MATES in Construction will use existing networks and relationships within the construction and mining industries to deliver programs that benefit workers, leaders, counsellors and families of FIFO and DIDO workers across Australia.”

The Government continues to make mental health a national priority, investing a record $6.5 billion in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2021-22, doubling since 2012-13. This includes $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to lead landmark reform of the mental health system.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline
(13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

In addition, Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or

New national approach to local suicide prevention

The Morrison Government is reforming the way suicide prevention activities are undertaken across the country, with $46.7 million in the 2022-23 Budget to strengthen suicide prevention at the local level.

For the first time, every region in Australia will have a local leader focused on suicide prevention, ensuring early intervention and suicide prevention activities are better coordinated and right for the local area.

Suicide Prevention Response Leaders will work within their community to bring together service providers, local councils, emergency services, schools and community groups. They will also have funding to back local approaches and services to reduce suicide.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the Morrison Government recognises the devastating impact suicide has on individuals, families and communities, and is committed to working towards zero suicides.

“Every suicide is a tragedy. While the rate of suicide declined by 6.2 per cent in 2020, 3,139 Australians lost their lives,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“As we work towards our goal of zero suicides, we are building upon our record investment in suicide prevention.”

To continue to drive the suicide rate towards zero, the Morrison Government is investing through the 2022-23 Budget:

  • $10.4 million to establish a Suicide Prevention Regional Response Leader in each of Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHN), to lead engagement, coordination, and integration of early intervention and suicide prevention activities in their region.
  • $30.2 million to strengthen the ability of PHNs to implement regional and community-based suicide prevention responses nationally, delivering initiatives tailored for local communities. These may include developing services for at-risk groups in the community, improving care coordination by mapping local service pathways for those at risk of suicide or who are bereaved by suicide, or building the capacity and capability of the local workforce through activities such as scholarship and training programs.
  • $4 million to boost suicide prevention research, by providing a further two years of funding for the Suicide Prevention Research Fund delivered by Suicide Prevention Australia.

“These new initiatives were informed by strong evidence for new approaches to suicide prevention, gained through the National Suicide Prevention Trials.

“The trials highlighted the importance of localised approaches and having dedicated response leaders in each PHN. We’re now using the lessons from these trials to deliver services and suicide prevention initiatives across the country that are tailored to meet the needs of local communities.”

Assistant Minister Coleman said the Suicide Prevention Regional Response Leaders will be located in all areas of Australia, ensuring regional, rural and remote communities are fully included.

“Every single PHN area that covers regional and remote Australia has a higher suicide rate than those that cover metropolitan areas.

“It’s imperative that suicide prevention initiatives reach into communities that have historically been hard to reach and where services may have been limited.

“Key to this is the fact that the new Suicide Prevention Regional Response Leaders will not be bound to a desk, they will be out in the community building relationships, determining where the gaps are and working to address these in partnership with the community.”

These new suicide prevention initiatives are a key part of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, with the Morrison Government investing almost $3 billion towards its implementation since 2021-22.

More than $344 million is for specific suicide prevention measures, which includes working with the states and territories to deliver universal aftercare for all Australians discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt, funding national postvention services to support those bereaved or impacted by suicide, and the establishment of a National Suicide Prevention Office to lead cross government work.

As part of the Plan, the Government is also investing more than $96 million into mental health and suicide prevention measures for Indigenous Australians whose suicide rate is more than double that of non-Indigenous Australians.

This includes funding to establish regional suicide prevention networks in each jurisdiction, implement culturally sensitive, co-designed aftercare services with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations being the preferred service providers, and to create a culturally appropriate 24/7 crisis line that is governed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Anyone experiencing distress can also seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or

Young Australians needing support can access free services through Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), their local headspace or online through eheadspace (

Australians needing support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at 

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe to chart future directions for health and medical research

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe will lead a Strategic Advisory Committee to develop the nation’s strategy for health and medical research for the next two decades – the Vision 2040 Strategy.

Supported by a Strategic Advisory Committee, Dr Woodthorpe will set research directions for policy and funding bodies across governments, and the not-for-profit and private sectors.

The Vision 2040 Strategy will provide a holistic perspective that will integrate health and medical research – from theoretical to applied – at a national level to deliver a common vision for the next two decades.

Dr Woodthorpe has held a broad range of management and board positions in Australia and overseas. She has a deep understanding of technology-oriented industries including medical devices, with a strong background in commercialisation of research.

Working in collaboration with the Department of Health., Dr Woodthorpe and the Strategic Advisory Committee will consult widely with stakeholders, review the sector, and provide recommendations in setting out a long-term vision for health and medical research.

The Strategic Advisory Committee has a breadth of experience and expertise from across the fields of medical research, Indigenous health, entrepreneurship and innovation, the consumer sector, and the economy.

The Strategic Advisory Committee members are:

•           Dr Katherine Woodthorpe (Chair)

•           Dr Janine Mohamed

•           Professor Carol Hodgson

•           Ms Jan Donovan

•           Professor Vlado Perkovic

•           Professor Robyn Ward

•           Professor Danny Liew

•           Ms Nadia Levin

More support for Australians with eating disorders

The Morrison Government is investing an additional $24.3 million through the 2022-23 Budget to implement new community-based treatment services and fund existing support and treatment services for Australians with an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are among the most complex and deadly of psychiatric illnesses, and the Morrison Government recognises the importance of making sure everyone can access evidence-based care when and where they need it most.

The number of people in Australia with an eating disorder at any given time is estimated to be around one million, and almost a third (31.6%) of Australian adolescents engage in disordered eating behaviours in any given year.

This new funding, combined with the Morrison Government’s support for innovative new treatment and therapy approaches, will see more care available in more places, improving the chances of recovery for those impacted.

The funding includes:

  • $20 million for community-based eating disorder treatment services. These services will focus on local needs, using innovative and evidence-based models of care that are free to those who access them.
  • $1.3 million to the Wandi Nerida residential eating disorder treatment and recovery centre on the Sunshine Coast.
  • $1.6 million for the National Eating Disorders Collaboration for ongoing development of clinical resources, implementation of the National Eating Disorders Strategy, support for clinical workforce development, and provision of independent, expert advice to Government.
  • $1.1 million for the Butterfly Foundation to continue to develop the eating disorder peer workforce, provide advice to state and territory governments on the establishment of the community-based residential eating disorder treatment centres and build on and expand the Butterfly Body Bright program in primary schools.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the funding will provide more services for more people.

“Eating disorders are extremely complex and dangerous and prolonged care is often needed,” Assistant Minister Coleman said. “But it is possible for many people to make a full recovery if they get the right treatment at the right time and that’s what these new services will deliver.”

“These new services will fill current treatment gaps within the community, ensuring more wrap around support for those who require ongoing care outside a hospital setting.”

“The service providers of these programs will also work closely with the National Eating Disorder Research Centre to inform important eating disorder research and contribute to the evidence-base for future eating disorder treatments and supports.

“As a Government, we are deeply committed to helping Australians affected by eating disorders and body image issues, and ensuring those impacted have the best chance of recovery.”

Since 2012-13, the Government has committed $268 million to eating disorder initiatives, with more than $71 million in 2021-22 alone. This is up from just $500,000 for specific eating disorder initiatives in 2012-13.

The Morrison Government is delivering a number of vital initiatives to ensure continuity of care and access to high quality treatment and support for people affected by eating disorders and their families and carers.

In November 2019, the Government provided $110.7 million to introduce 64 new Medicare items for eating disorders. These items enable patients with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders with complex needs to access up to 40 psychological and 20 dietetic services a year.

A further investment of $63 million was provided for six new community-based residential eating disorder treatment centres across Australia.

$26.9 million was also included in last year’s Budget to increase the availability and quality of care options for people affected by eating disorders, including:

  • $1.9 million to improve access to specific timely, high quality care for eating disorders in Australian Government funded mental health centres such as headspace and Adult Mental Health Centres;
  • $300,000 to enable Eating Disorders Families Australia to continue operation of the “strive” program, providing mental health support for families and carers of people with eating disorders;
  • $2.5 million to deliver the final phase of the workforce credentialing project to ensure all Australians have access to high quality care delivered under the Medicare eating disorder items; and
  • $13 million to establish a National Eating Disorder Research Centre to coordinate and conduct world-leading research into eating disorders.

The funding reinforces the Morrison Government’s strong commitment to achieving better mental health for all Australians, with expenditure on mental health services estimated to be a record $6.8 billion in 2022-23 alone.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Butterfly Foundation’s ED HOPE helpline (1800 33 4673), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.

Labor’s Plan for Cheaper Child Care

An Albanese Labor Government will deliver cheaper child care to almost every family in the system after locking in a more generous subsidy rate for families with more than one child under six if Labor forms government.
In his first Budget Reply speech as Leader, Anthony Albanese announced Labor’s plan to deliver cheaper child care by increasing the maximum subsidy rate to 90 per cent for families up to $80,000, removing the annual subsidy cap, and smoothing the taper rate down more gradually from the new 90 per cent rate.
Scott Morrison was dragged into making modest changes to the system in the 2021 Budget, which matched Labor’s policy to remove the subsidy cap and introduced a higher subsidy for families with more than one child under six – changes which meant hundreds of thousands of families missed out on more support.
Labor will lock this higher rate in – meaning under Labor, 96 per cent of all families in the system will be better off. 1.26 million families will be better off – five times more than under the Morrison Joyce Government.
Labor’s plan for Cheaper Child Care will:

  • Lift the maximum child care subsidy for one child care;
  • Increase CCS rates for every family with one child in care earning less than $530,000 in household income; and
  • Lift CCS rates for the second and more children in care.

Importantly, Labor’s policy extends to outside school hours and vacation care – which miss out under the Liberals.
Labor also get the ACCC to design a price regulation mechanism to drive out of pocket costs down for good, and the Productivity Commission will conduct a comprehensive review of the sector with the aim of implementing a universal 90 per cent subsidy for all families.
Scott Morrison’s child care system has completely failed Australian families.
The cost of child care has never been higher than it is now.
Over the past 12 months, child care costs soared by 6.5 per cent – almost double the rate of inflation. Fees have increased by 41 per cent since the Liberals formed government. For the average family, this means they are paying almost $5,000 more in fees.
Child care costs are eating a bigger and bigger hole in household budgets and are putting more financial strain on Australian families.
Under Scott Morrison’s recent changes to the subsidy, hundreds of thousands of families will miss out on relief compared to Labor’s Cheaper Child Care Plan. And the Government still has no plans to control fees in the future.
Only Labor has a plan to fix child care.
We also know that improving our child care system is a fundamental economic reform that will boost workforce participation and drive productivity growth.
Conservative estimates show a return on investment of $2 for every $1 invested, and economists have estimated a GDP boost of between $4-$11 billion per year.

Labor’s Plan to Put Nurses Back Into Nursing Homes and Give Carers More Time to Care

An Albanese Labor Government will stop the neglect and put security, dignity, quality and humanity back into aged care for older Australians.
Our plan will put nurses back into nursing homes, giving carers more time to care. It will lift wages in the sector, deliver better care and improve transparency and accountability.
Our detailed five-point plan will:

  • Require a registered nurse on site 24/7 in residential care
  • Give carers more time to care through an increase to 215 minutes of direct care a day
  • Formally support a pay rise for aged care workers
  • Require better food for residents
  • Require more transparency in the system so we know taxpayers’ money is going on care

The global pandemic and a Royal Commission have confirmed what so many Australians already knew – our aged care system is in crisis.
More of us are living long enough to need extra care in our later years. But currently that thought fills a generation of Australians and their families with dread.
We acknowledge that there are aged care workers who show up to work every day and do their absolute best. And they will be the first to tell you that the system is at breaking point.
Australians fear that the final chapter of their life and the lives of those they love will be an aged care facility that can barely meet their needs, let alone afford them real dignity.
For far too long the Morrison-Joyce Government has turned a blind eye to operators who put profit ahead of the people – they can’t be trusted to fix their broken system.
Labor deeply believes that the older Australians who built this country deserve aged care homes that genuinely look after them.
We will make aged care a place people want to work, knowing that they will be respected and valued for the unique work they do.
Labor’s plan will change aged care in this country for the better, end the neglect and ensure older Australians and their families receive the care they deserve.


The Australian Government is taking further action to increase the economic costs to Russia following its illegal invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, by applying an additional tariff of 35 per cent for all imports from Russia and Belarus.

On 1 April 2022, Australia will issue a formal notification withdrawing entitlement to the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) tariff treatment and applying an additional tariff of 35 per cent to all imports from Russia and Belarus. This will take effect from 25 April 2022 and will be in addition to general duty rates that currently apply.

This action follows Australia’s joint statement, with other like-minded members of the World Trade Organization, strongly condemning Russia’s actions and committing to take all actions we consider necessary, as WTO members, to protect our essential security interests.

Australia stands in solidarity with Ukraine against Russia’s aggression and the Morrison Government is providing $91 million in military assistance.

To support the people of Ukraine, we are providing $65 million in humanitarian assistance, 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to support Ukraine’s energy security, as well as temporary protection visas and assistance to Ukrainian community groups in Australia.

We continue to work with partners to impose the maximum costs on Russia, through targeted sanctions on individuals and entities, the prohibition of energy, oil and gas products from Russia, and a ban on exports of alumina and aluminium ores (including bauxite) to Russia.

This includes listing more than 500 individuals and entities to date. Our sanctions on Russia make up the largest ever imposition of sanctions by Australia against any single country.

A prohibition on imports of oil and other energy products will also commence on 25 April.

We strongly support similar action by our international partners to revoke MFN trading arrangements with Russia and Belarus, consistent with their national processes.

We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure Russia is held to account for its actions.

Australia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and continues to call on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine.


The Australian Government will provide further military support to Ukraine in response to Russia’s brutal, unrelenting and illegal invasion, at the request of the Ukrainian Government and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

To meet that request, in partnership with the Australian defence industry, we will provide an additional $25 million AUD of defensive military assistance for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

This will bring Australia’s total military assistance so far to $116 million.

On top of this support is Australia’s $65 million of humanitarian assistance, 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to meet Ukraine’s energy needs, as well as temporary protection visas and support for Ukrainian community groups in Australia.

The new $25 million package of additional defensive military assistance will include tactical decoys, unmanned aerial and unmanned ground systems, rations and medical supplies.

The Australian Government will continue to identify opportunities for further military assistance where it is able to provide a required capability to the Ukraine Armed Forces expeditiously.

The Government will not disclose further specific details of the package or delivery arrangements at the direct request of Ukrainian officials and our other partners.

Australia stands with Ukraine against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.

We will continue to impose the maximum costs against Russia through targeted sanctions on individuals and entities, including President Putin and his circle of oligarchs and propagandists, military commanders and members of Parliament.

Cabenuva listed on the PBS for Australians living with HIV

ViiV Healthcare Australia has welcomed the announcement that Cabenuva (cabotegravir prolonged-release suspension for injection and rilpivirine prolonged-release suspension for injection) has been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as the first long-acting treatment for Australians living with HIV.

It will be reimbursed for virologically suppressed adults living with HIV-1 who have no known or suspected resistance to either cabotegravir or rilpivirine to maintain viral suppression with six doses per year after initiation.1

This listing is an important development for the more than 29,000 Australians currently living with HIV2, many of whom currently take medications daily.

In recommending the reimbursement, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) commented that, “some people living with HIV in certain populations, such as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, those living in rural or remote settings, and individuals with complex living or social circumstances, had issues adhering to a daily oral regimen and would potentially have improved quality of life from a long-acting injectable option.”3

HIV is commonly treated with daily oral antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, people living with HIV often experience challenges related to the daily dosing of ART, including fear of unintentionally revealing their HIV status, anxiety over adhering to their daily medication and or the stress and painful memories from daily medication intake.4

Dr David Baker, leading GP in the treatment of people living with HIV from East Sydney Doctors, said the addition of Cabenuva on the PBS may help reduce the burden of the disease on people living with HIV.

“Over the last 20 years we’ve made great progress in developing effective treatments for HIV that can suppresses the virus in the body to undetectable levels, however until now it has required daily treatment. The introduction of a long-acting injectable treatment means that eligible people living with HIV will only need to be treated every two months, rather than every day. This approach has the potential to help lessen the burden of treatment and reduce the worry and stigma that comes with having to take treatments daily,” said Dr Baker.

Dr Matthew Shields, a sexual health physician at Taylor Square Private Clinic, commented that the new long-acting treatment is another option for people living with HIV that may provide increased control over their sexual health and well-being.

“We know that historically HIV treatments have played a significant role in reducing stigma, leading to improved sexual health and wellbeing for those living with HIV. The reimbursement of a long-acting injectable treatment will only help to further this progress, as it has the potential to improve quality of life for people living with HIV by reducing the daily reminder of their HIV status and also removing the anxiety around potentially forgetting the daily oral tablets,” said Dr Shields.

According to Scott Harlum, President of the National Association for People with HIV in Australia (NAPWHA), treatment innovations have the potential to improve quality of life for people living with HIV.

“The approval of long-lasting injectable anti-retroviral treatments are a welcome development for people with HIV. As an additional treatment option, long-lasting injectable treatments can reduce the burden of taking daily medication and further assist people with HIV adhere to their treatment regime. This, in turn, helps ensure people with HIV are able to maintain an undetectable viral load which is both good for their own health, but also eliminates any risk of transmission of HIV,” he said.

Dr Fraser Drummond, Medical Director at ViiV Healthcare Australia, said the reimbursement of Cabenuva represents a shift in the way HIV is treated by offering people living with HIV a new approach to care.

“Long-acting HIV treatments have the potential to reduce the fear of disclosure and the anxiety of having to remember to take a pill every day,” said Dr Drummond.

“ViiV Healthcare is dedicated to ensuring no one living with HIV is left behind. Adding this first-of-its-kind regimen to our portfolio of innovative medicines in Australia shows how committed we are to this mission,” he said.


13 YARN, Australia’s first – and only – national Indigenous-led crisis hotline is now up and running. Funded by the Australian Government (through the Department of Health), the new purpose- built, 24/7 national telephone helpline is codesigned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people specifically to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support line has been developed in collaboration with Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia and is run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the support of Lifeline.

All Crisis Supporters will be of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and are provided with clinical and cultural support. As the line grows, helpline staff will be embedded in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities across Australia, with a virtual workforce and training model ensuring that information and expertise can be shared to every corner of the country.

National Program Manager Marjorie Anderson said every aspect of 13 YARN has been designed to be culturally appropriate – from the non-typical conversation approach to the welcome message and Aboriginal hold music.

“13 YARN offers a confidential one-on-one over the phone yarning opportunity for mob who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping. It’s a place where they can connect and receive help from a trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter,” Ms Anderson said.

“We believe there is always hope at the end of a yarn, we know how to listen without judgement or shame, and we believe in the power of storytelling to heal.”

Anyone can access the line by calling 13 YARN [13 92 76] around the clock, where they will be assisted for their immediate situation and, if necessary, referred to culturally appropriate programs and services to make sure there is ongoing support.

Initial feedback has been encouraging, with one caller saying the service was completely unique.

“There’s never been a national service run by mob, that’ll let me spin a yarn, and will take the time to listen, anytime that I need it,” they said.

Other smaller existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island crisis lines will be supported by 13 YARN, which will openly share resources and expertise to build on the network of resources and programs available for people in need.

Funding for an independent evaluation of the impact of 13YARN has been included to ensure the service stays on track and remains fit for purpose.

If you, or someone you know are feeling worried or no good, we encourage you to connect with 13 YARN [13 92 76] and talk with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.