656. Hon ALISON XAMON to the parliamentary secretary representing the Minister for Mental Health:
I refer to the 10-year “Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015–2025” and the recently released “Methamphetamine Action Plan Taskforce: What the Taskforce Heard” consultation report, both of which identify the critical need for greater access to a timely response and assistance with system navigation for people with alcohol and other drug issues.
(1) What was the rationale for the 17 per cent cut to the Meth Helpline staffing levels, the only existing service that offers both these system components?
(2) Who was consulted ahead of this decision?
(3) Will the minister make public the data on the number of calls, including dropouts and call-backs, before and after the cuts?
(4) If yes to (3), when?
(5) If no to (3), why not?
Hon ALANNA CLOHESY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) Additional funding was provided in the 2016–17 budget for only two years, ceasing on 30 June 2018, to increase the number of full-time equivalent employees in the Alcohol and Drug Support Service by one, in order to support the newly established Meth Helpline. The additional ADSS FTE ceased as at 30 June 2018 in accordance with the finite funding. The Meth Helpline is staffed by the ADSS. The Meth Helpline is still active and continues to serve the public.
(2) No consultation was undertaken, as the cessation of funding was as per the previous budget decision to provide finite funding.
(3) Yes. The Meth Helpline is still active and continues to service the public. The Minister for Health has asked that the call volumes be closely monitored to ensure that the line is servicing the community effectively.
(4) The data will be made available upon request.
(5) Not applicable.