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The runaway giant: ten years of the Better Access program

Sebastian P Rosenberg and Ian B Hickie
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50068
Published online: 1 April 2019

Australia urgently needs a new and fairer approach to the provision of quality Medicare‐funded psychological services

It is now more than 15 years since the Howard government first provided Commonwealth funding support for psychological interventions. First, in 2001, the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care program responded specifically to the imbalance in care between medication‐based and psychological treatment options for common forms of anxiety or depression. The program had very attractive design features focusing on regional implementation, practitioner education, improved multidisciplinary care and funding for completed episodes of care. However, program funding was both capped and very limited (around $30 million per year).

  • Sebastian P Rosenberg1,2
  • Ian B Hickie

  • 1 Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
  • 2 Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

Ian Hickie is a former commissioner on the National Mental Health Commission.

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