POSITION STATEMENT: COVID-19 EMERGENCY AMENDMENTS TO THE NSW MENTAL HEALTH ACT 2007: CONSUMER PERSPECTIVES LEFT OUT

On 24 March 2020, the NSW Government passed a bill to make changes to several legislative processes for emergency procedures.

The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 was passed in NSW Parliament without any broader consultation or engagement with consumers of mental health services.

Being has a number of concerns about this legislation, you can download our full response here, or read our initial concerns below:

▪ How will consumers be informed of these amendments; will this be undertaken by the services directly?

▪ We request that consumers be given clear communication as to why the decisions made by the Tribunal are in consumers’ best interests and in line with their rights.

▪ We would like to understand if Tribunal hearings will continue to consist of a three-member panel. In the interest of consumer rights to have a fair and equitable hearing the continuation of a three-member panel should be mandatory.

Being calls on the NSW Government and the NSW Minister for Mental Health to implement and provide better processes to protect consumers at this time of need. We also call on the NSW Government to ensure that fair and equitable processes are in place at all Tribunal hearings and that the current three-member panel process remains during what are difficult times for the consumer cohort.

You can download a PDF with our full initial response here.

Being gave consumers an opportunity to be involved in our response to this emergency bill by hosting two open video meetings and by seeking further responses via email. Being is currently developing a letter in response, to be presented to the NSW Minister for Mental Health.

If you would like to provide feedback on the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 please email: communications@being.org.au

You can also follow Being’s updates on our Facebook page.

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