Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says $25 million promised for the planned Eurobodalla Shire Hospital should be directed to mental health services if he becomes prime minister.
“We would like to see that go into mental health facilities,” Mr Shorten told campaigner, surgeon Dr Michael Holland on Tuesday, February 5.
“It is the treatment of people after the immediate emergency and providing support that is the real gap.
“We want to make sure when people and families are dealing with a loved one whose got a challenging mental illness, they can get the care here.
“Dr Holland explained to me the remarkable statistics that 75 per cent of people with these conditions have to be treated outside the local area.
“We just make the odds harder against people recovering and getting treatment when they have to travel away from family when they’re dealing with all sorts of serious medical illnesses.”
Mr Shorten said early care was lacking in rural areas.
“Straight after the immediate incident, the sub-acute area, it’s just deficient in regional Australia,” he said.
“When you’re battling mental illness or addictions you need to be in your own environment to come through that and be around people who know you and love you.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported a combined Labor commitment of $225 million, rather than $200 million.