Australians for Mental Health

Aug 26, 2014

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, joined with Prof Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year 2010 & Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health, to launch “Australians for Mental Health” at the National Youth Mental Health Campaign Launch & Forum, which took place today at Village Cinemas at Fountain Gate.

Australians for Mental Health will be a Mental Health Advocacy Campaign similar to “Get Up”. To join this mental health advocacy campaign please visit:

Australians for Mental Health – The problem:

• The neglect of mental ill-health is a form of national self- harm that must be stopped;

• Despite increased coverage and awareness of mental health, there still exists a political inertia about mental ill- health.

Australians for Mental Health – What we want”

• The voices of Australians affected by mental ill-health to be heard and responded to;

• Equal access to, and quality of mental health care, as physical health care by 2020 through transformational reform and investment;

• A reduction in the suicide toll to 75% of its current rate – 2,361 deaths per annum – by 2016 and to 50% of its current rate by 2020;

• An increase in annual funding for mental health to 10% of the total health budget by 2016 and to 13% by 2020; as it currently stands at 7%.

• Improved access to mental health care from a level of 40% in 2008 to 60% by 2016 and 80% by 2020

“Mental illness poses by far the greatest threat among all the non-communicable diseases to health, happiness, and economic productivity”, said Prof Patrick McGorry.

“We want to encourage the community to make its voice heard on the need for mental health across the whole lifespan. Our political leaders on both sides of the spectrum need to be further empowered to act and invest in 21st century mental health care for all Australians”, said Prof McGorry.

“The ages between 12 and 25 years are a crucial time in the development of our young men and women and Mental Illness accounts for 50 per cent of the total disease burden among young people in Australia. The forum will continue our ongoing campaign to empower our youth in national and local efforts to reduce the risk of youth depression and other mental health issues in our community”, said Mr Byrne.

“We are really proud to partner again with Prof Patrick McGorry from Orygen Youth Health at the launch of the National Mental Health Campaign called ‘Australians for Mental Health’ at the forum. It’s time to reenergise our campaign for greater national attention and awareness on youth mental health issues and ensure that the voice of Casey’s youth is heard again nationally,’ said Mr Byrne.



Casey Regional Veterans Welfare Centre Receives Funding Boost

Aug 20, 2014


Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, caught up with John Hopkins & Peter Godfrey from the Casey Regional Veterans Welfare Centre, as the organisation received $3,191.60 under the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) program from the Australian Government.

The BEST program, administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), provides support and resources to ex-service practitioners for pension and welfare work to assist veterans, war widows and widowers. Further information can be accessed on DVA’s website at

BEST grants are an important part of the Government’s commitment to support ex-service organisation pensions officers, welfare officers and advocates and it is vital to the provision of support to veterans seeking compensation, and their families.

“Local organisations like the Casey Regional Veterans Welfare Centre carry out wonderful work in the local community and it is fantastic to reward the organisation with extra funds to support their vital programs for local Veterans, said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Tax Help in Holt

Jul 14, 2014

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, and Tax Help Volunteer Tina Jom are reminding residents that the Tax Help Program in Holt will be starting on Tuesday 5 August 2014 and running until the end of October 2014.

Tax Help is a program run in partnership with the Australian Taxation Office to assist people on a limited income to complete their tax returns. Tax Help is suitable for people earning $50,000 or less a year with tax returns.

“Completing a tax return can be quite a stressful process for many people. I would encourage eligible people to take advantage of this free service that aims to make their lives easier. Our office has already had many enquires this year because our Tax Help volunteer Tina Jom provides such a great service,’ said Mr Byrne.

If you need assistance with completing your tax return this year then please sign up for the free Tax Help program by calling the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 or contacting one of the three local Tax Help Centres directly. Please see below for the contact details of the three Tax Help Centres in Holt.

Tax Help Centres in or near Holt

1. Anthony Byrne MP’s Electorate Office

Shop HM 2B 8-10 Overland Drive Fountain Gate VIC 3805.
To make an appointment please call: (03) 9796 7533

2. Casey North Community & Information Support Service

Suite 1, 90-92 Victor Cres Narre Warren 3805 VIC
To make an appointment please call: (03) 9705 6699

3. Cranbourne Information & Support Service

156 Sladen Street Cranbourne VIC 3977
To make an appointment please call: (03) 5996 3333

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Blessing of the Convent at St Agatha’s Parish, Cranbourne

Jun 11, 2014

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, today had the pleasure to attend the official opening and Blessing of the Convent at St Agatha’s Parish, Cranbourne. Anthony Byrne MP attended this event along with Father Denis O’Bryan (Parish Priest – St Agatha’s Parish, Cranbourne), Father Peter Slater (Administrator of the Sale Diocese) and special guest Bishop Michael Apochi (Bishop of the Diocese of Otukpo in Benue State in Nigeria).

“This Blessing was a special event, as it was the blessing of a convent which houses three very special women from Nigeria. They are Nigerian Catholic nuns who basically have, as part of a project of the exchange between Nigeria and Australia, come to Cranbourne to spend their time nourishing and enriching the area. They are amazing people. I would like to mention particularly Sister Grace, Sister Mary and the very formidable Sister Mercy, who is the head nun,’ said Mr Byrne.

“This project of inviting Nigerian Catholic nuns and seminarians from Nigeria to Australia was embarked upon as a consequence of a discussion between Bishop Michael Apochi, the Bishop for Nigeria, and Bishop Christopher Prowse, who is now the Archbishop of Canberra. It is amazing seeing the great works which are occurring here. A couple of priests have come over from Nigeria as well. I am very grateful to Bishop Prowse for the work he has done. The St Agatha’s Parish Convent is an amazing new building, certainly much larger than the smaller one which curently houses three nuns. This great project just goes to show the strength and resilience of the Catholic Church and its reach into the international community as well,’ said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Delay in the rollout of the headspace Fountain Gate

May 30, 2014


Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, met with Casey’s Youth including Dani Rothwell, Emily Cooper, Jake Downward and Steph Bruders to raise concerns about the delay in the rollout of headspace Fountain Gate due to the Abbott Government’s cuts to Medicare Locals.

Earlier this year the South East Melbourne Medicare Local (SEMML) was awarded the tender to be the lead agency that would run the headspace Fountain Gate/Narre Warren. SEMML was awarded the tender having successfully established headspace Dandenong within four months.

Despite their excellent work in establishing headspace Dandenong, SEMML has been informed by the Abbott Government that they can no longer establish the headspace Fountain Gate/Narre Warren due to a decision in the Budget 2014 to abolish Medicare Locals in favour of Primary Health Care Networks. This has created enormous confusion and potentially means a new tender process which would significantly delay the establishment of the headspace Fountain Gate.

Young people dealing with depression, substance abuse and other mental health issues in the local community are disappointed by this delay in establishing a headspace at Fountain Gate/Narre Warren.

The popular headspace service provides support in areas ranging from mental health issues, to drug and alcohol problems, physical health, social and vocational support.

Anthony Byrne MP said ‘We need this service as soon as possible. Our area has a significant youth population and deserves a youth friendly mental health service as soon as possible. Why should our young people be denied a service they deserve and desperately need’.

‘We need to keep fighting. There are more than 60,000 young people in the City of Casey. It’s simply not good enough to let politically fuelled reform overtake the establishment of headspace Fountain Gate as a priority. Our young people need this headspace and we need it now,’ said Dani Rothwell.

For more information about the national headspace program, see

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Final Call for Anzac Centenary Grant Applications

May 23, 2014

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, met with Barry Rogers, Secretary of the Dandenong-Cranbourne RSL Sub Branch, for a Final Call for Anzac Centenary Grant Applications, which close on 30 May 2014.

The Anzac Centenary Grants Program is an important Australian Government program which commerates the Centenary of Anzac. Each Federal Electorate including the Federal Electorate of Holt has up to $125,000 available to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac.

The Holt Anzac Centenary Grants Committee advises that proposed projects and events must be directly commemorative of the involvement, service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women in the First World War. Types of projects eligible under this program include:

• public commemorative events, including the commemoration of important military anniversaries, enlistments and other First World War events that have had a significant impact on the local community;
• new First World War memorials or honour boards;
• the restoration of existing First World War memorials or honour boards;
• the preservation, interpretation and display of First World War wartime and military memorabilia and artefacts; and
• relevant school projects, such as research with a focus on military involvement and social impacts, and the products of research, e.g. written material, documentaries etc.

“Next year’s Anzac Centenary will be a special occasion and the Anzac Centenary Grants Program provides funding to assist the local community in commemorating the involvement, service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women in the First World War and the Anzac bond that was forged at Gallipoli in 1915,” said Mr Byrne.

To find out more about the Anzac Centenary Grants Program and to download an application form please visit If you have any queries about this grant then please do not hesitate to contact Anthony Byrne MP’s office on 9796 7533.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Abbott Government’s $7 GP Tax will increase the Cost of Living for residents of Holt

May 20, 2014


Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt and Luke Donnellan MP, State Member for Narre Warren North, met with Dr Ariane D’Argent & Dr Stuart Rumble from the Hallam Medical Group and Helen Jolliffe this morning to campaign against the introduction of $7 GP Tax, which will directly increase the cost of living for residents of Holt.

Anthony Byrne MP and the Federal Labor Opposition believe that these changes are a threat to universal healthcare in Australia. This will see the old and at risk in some cases having to choose between eating or seeing the doctor. This assault on Medicare is an unacceptable attack on the Australian way of life and will reduce living standards of Australians. Every time someone in the family gets sick, getting medical treatment will cost more money.

In addition to imposing a new tax on doctor visits the Abbott Government will make the Medicare Safety Net less fair, cutting $270 million from the provision existing arrangements and transferring those costs onto Australian families.

‘The $7 tax on doctor visits hits everyone – families, pensioners, parents, low income earners, people with a disability, veterans and the unemployed. And for the first time, pensioners and concessional patients will be charged for pathology and imaging services out of hospital,’ said Mr Byrne.

This GP Tax is only the beginning. It opens the doors for the Abbott Government to smash Medicare one piece at a time.

On the one hand the government is penalising doctors, many of whom have made a decision to solely bulk bill, whilst charging some of the poorest Australians who seek basic medical care. They will also be turning our doctors in to tax collectors.

The government knows this new tax will push vulnerable Australians into emergency departments, so the Abbott Government is now trying to bully the states into introducing an emergency department tax, which could tax the most vulnerable out of the health system entirely.

“This is a Budget of broken promises, cruel cuts and unfair increases in the cost of living. Families will have to pay a new petrol tax to Tony Abbott every time they get in their car, and a new GP tax every time they take their sick child to the doctor. Australia has low government debt, and our economy has continued to grow. There is no need for the Abbott Government to make deep cuts and increase the cost of living for working families in Holt’, said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Budget 2014/15 – New Taxes & Increased Cost of Living

May 14, 2014

The Abbott Government has brought down its first budget, which attacks families, students, pensioners and the sick. This budget directly increases the cost of living for residents of Holt.

“This is a Budget of broken promises, cruel cuts and unfair increases in the cost of living. It is built on more than $80 billion in savage cuts to schools and hospitals over the next 10 years. It will increase waiting times at the Casey Hospital, Dandenong Hospital and the Monash Medical Centre. The Victorian State Government will now also be allowed to introduce Emergency Room/Hospital Taxes. It’s a new tax on getting sick. Families in Holt will now be hit by new taxes and cost of living increases’, said Mr Byrne.

‘Families will have to pay a new petrol tax to Tony Abbott every time they get in their car, and a new GP tax every time they take their sick child to the doctor’, said Mr Byrne.

Students at university will also suffer, as deregulation of university fees will lead to skyrocketing fees for university students. Cuts to the Tools for Your Trade Program and a new loan of up to $20,000 loan is available for apprentices that will increase their own levels of debt,’ said Mr Byrne.

‘Holt pensioners will feel absolutely betrayed by the Abbott Government’s attack on their modest living standards. Mr Abbott expects Australians to work until they’re 70 years old by 2035. That will be the oldest retirement age in the world,’ said Mr Byrne.

Jobseekers up to 30 will be prevented from accessing Newstart or Youth Allowance for a six month “waiting period”, then limited to six months before being removed from income support, before being permitted back on after a further six months. Many disability pensioners under 35 will be “reassessed” and those with “some work capacity” forced to seek employment.

‘Australia only one of 10 countries in the world with a AAA credit rating from all three ratings agencies. We have low government debt, and our economy has continued to grow. There is no need for the Abbott Government to make deep cuts and increase the cost of living for working families in Holt’, said Mr Byrne.

‘Last night’s Budget was not the ‘Best Day for Australia’ as the Treasurer has claimed but a day where working families will now suffer from the Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s new taxes, a petrol tax hike and cuts to schools and hospitals,’ said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Building our Suburbs: St Peter’s College benefits from Capital Grants Program

May 9, 2014

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, met with Principal Tim Hogan from St Peter’s College today to announce that the school has received $1,895,000.00 from the Federal Government. This investment will help fund its $4,100,000.00 project to construct a Year 10 & Year 11 Learning and Specialist Area building (as well as associated site works and car park) at its new Cranbourne East Campus.

‘Cranbourne East is located in a growth corridor. I am delighted that St Peter’s College has received funding from the Federal Government under the Capital Grants Programme. The Capital Grants Programme provides funding for non-government school communities to assist non-government primary and secondary schools to improve capital infrastructure where they otherwise may not have access to sufficient capital resources. I am delighted that one of our local schools, St Peter’s College, has received funding to expand its capabilities to allow Year 10 & 11 students to study at its Cranbourne East Campus,’ said Mr Byrne.

‘St Peter’s College is very pleased to accept this funding from the Federal Government totalling $1.895 million. This funding will allow the continued expansion of the East Campus into the VCE with a full range of Arts and Technology subjects being offered in this modern spacious facility for 2015. The continued growth and expansion in Cranbourne will see the East Campus of St Peter’s College provide a comprehensive curriculum to over 600 year 7 to 12 students by 2016,’ said Principal Hogan.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Campaign to Protect Emergency Relief Funding

Apr 30, 2014


Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, caught up with Leanne Petrides, Executive Officer of the Cranbourne Information & Support Service, today to launch a campaign to protect Emergency Relief funding from being cut to local community services as a result of the forthcoming Federal Budget.

Emergency Relief funding helps people deal with their immediate financial crisis situation in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and encourages self-reliance. There are over 700 community and charitable organisations around Australia providing Emergency Relief services including the Cranbourne Information Support Service and the Casey North Information Support Service in Holt.

“In the financial year 2012-2013, CISS saw nearly 8,000 individuals, who represented many families in Casey’s South. We assisted with almost 14,000 different requests for assistance, with over 6,000 of those requests being for emergency relief. During the last financial year, we provided over $150,000 of food and petrol vouchers top those in need in our local community, as well as $12,315 in other financial assistance. This does not include the many food parcels distributed on a daily basis. Seventeen per cent of the clients assisted with emergency relief were first time visitors to our agency. We are already noticing an increase in demand for our services this year to the end of April 2014 and thus we require current funding levels to be maintained,’ said Leanne Petrides.

“Organisations like the Cranbourne Information Support Service go above and beyond to help those in the community in need and thus they should actually be given further support by Governments not be threatened with cuts to their own budgets for carrying out vital community services,’ said Mr Byrne.

If you wish to join this campaign to retain current funding levels for Emergency Relief funding then can you please call Anthony Byrne MP’s office on 9796 7533.
Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.


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