Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:00): My question is to the Minister for Veterans Affairs. Will the government commit additional resources towards mental health services for veterans in the state budget, particularly for those living in regional and rural areas?
The Hon. C.J. PICTON: Thank you, sir. This is a very important question in relation to veterans' mental health and it is something obviously both the state government and the federal government are taking very seriously. We obviously have a royal commission underway at the moment in relation to veterans' suicide, which the South Australian government is contributing to as part of its work.
The SPEAKER: Order! Member for Florey!
The Hon. C.J. PICTON: In the meantime, though, we are listening to our veterans community and we have a Veterans' Health Advisory Council that provides advice to the government on how to improve veterans' mental health, and I met with the new presiding officer of that recently. We continue to listen to their advice in relation to how we can improve mental health, and they obviously also provide advice to the Minister for Veterans Affairs.
Obviously we have a number of key veterans' mental health services, most predominantly the Jamie Larcombe Centre at the Glenside site, which provides those specialist mental health services for veterans. In addition, there are a variety of other services that are based at the Repat site as well, and we are working with veterans' groups who provide services on that site.
The other element of course is that the member for Elder also serves as the Premier's Advocate for Suicide Protection. This is one of the issues that the Suicide Prevention Council, which she chairs, is looking at in terms of the development of the statewide Suicide Prevention Plan as well. I know that they have been speaking to representatives in relation to veterans' mental health as part of the development of that plan as well.
I think there is absolutely commitment from the state government in terms of improvement in this area. We know that there is a lot more that needs to be done, and we obviously eagerly await the outcomes of the royal commission, working obviously as well with the commonwealth government, who have substantial responsibility in terms of the health care they provide to the veterans community. We will continue to do everything that we can, working with them, to make sure that we can improve the mental health of veterans across South Australia.