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Swan River

The Swan River is the jewel in Perth’s crown. A natural wonder, the Swan River Estuary stretches more than 60km from Fremantle to Ellen Brook. It is home to a population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins; more than 130 species of fish (including seahorses!), more than 80 species of waterbird; and a huge array of native flora.

Urban bushland

Southwest Australia is an internationally recognised biodiversity hotpot. The 36 hotspots worldwide represent just 2.4% of the earth’s surface, but contain more than half of the world’s endemic plant species. They are also the areas that are most at threat of losing this diversity through habitat loss from land-use change and development. From Shark Bay in the north to Israelite Bay in the south, there are more than 1500 kinds of flora found nowhere else in the world.

Sensible infill

Alison has been working with a number of residents and community groups within North Metro who are concerned about the future of their neighbourhoods. Constituents have repeatedly raised concerns about substantial developments planned for old areas of Perth – and fear more poorly planned infill leading to reduced tree canopy; the loss of public space and well-loved landmarks which do not fit the criteria for heritage listing. This has often been carried out without the better transport links, and economic and cultural benefits which are supposed to come along with urban infill.

LGBTIQ mental health and suicide prevention

Members of the LGBTIQ+ community experience rates of depression; anxiety and psychological distress much higher than the general population. Historically, stigma; discrimination, and a lack of public support for LGBTIQ+ Australians and their relationships has meant many struggled to achieve a sense of personal and collective worth, which is recognised as crucial for good mental health and overall wellbeing.

Registration of Social Workers

In line with calls from the Australian Association of Social Workers, Alison has been calling for the registration of the social work profession. Social workers are highly trained professionals with degree qualifications. They are trained to deal appropriately with people who are at great risk, and often experiencing serious mental health issues. If social workers were not well-trained, there is a great risk that vulnerable people could receive substandard or unethical care.

Children bereaved by suicide

The death by suicide of a loved one leaves a devastating and lasting impact on family members left behind. The lifelong impact on children is profound, placing them at a higher risk of dying by suicide three times higher than the general community. Children bereaved are at increased high risk of having mental health issues.

It is vital that we support children both in the short and long-term through the traumatic experience of losing a parent or loved one to suicide.

First Nations suicide

First Nations people in Western Australia are dying by suicide at a devastating rate. Between 2014 and 2018, WA had the highest age-standardised rate of suicide among First Nations people in the country, with 37.9 deaths per 100,000. This is compared with an average of 23.7 deaths per 100,000 among indigenous populations across Australia, and 12.6 deaths per 100,000 among the non-indigenous population in 2017.

Preventing suicide in Western Australia

There were 383 registered deaths by suicide in Western Australia in 2018, representing 2.6% of total deaths state-wide and 12.6% of all suicide deaths in Australia. 285 were male, 98 were female and 39 were First Nations people. While there has been a slight decrease in deaths by suicide, Western Australia continues to have one of the highest suicide rates in the country.

Each death by suicide is an enduring tragedy for loved ones left behind.

Mental Health services and the 10-Year Plan

The Western Australian mental health system is failing to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. There are many gaps in services; demand is growing and, despite Government investment in some areas, it is nowhere near enough. The 10-Year Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Services Plan was devised through extensive consultation from within the sector, to plan for the state’s anticipated services needs for the decade from 2015.