First steps toward national Mental Health Commission

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing the Hon Mark Butler MP has released the following statement:

Australians will have the opportunity to be at the forefront of national mental health reform with the first steps being taken towards the establishment of the nation’s first National Mental Health Commission.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today welcomed the appointment of Robyn Kruk as Chief Executive Officer designate of the new Commission.

The role of the CEO will be to guide the Commission in providing strategic and practical advice to Government on mental health reform, based on evidence of the mental health system’s performance across all jurisdictions. This advice will be informed by nine Mental Health Commissioners, drawn from experts in a range of sectors.

“The Gillard Government’s moves to establish Australia’s first National Mental Health Commission signals a new approach to mental health leadership and reform in our country,” Mr Butler said.

“The Commission will have nine Commissioners and a Chair and will provide independent advice to the Government on the effectiveness of the mental health system in meeting the needs of people with a mental illness, their families and carers.”

The core functions of the Commission will be to provide cross-sectoral leadership in mental health and drive transparency and accountability in the system to deliver better outcomes for consumers and carers. The Commission will also monitor the ongoing implementation of the 10 Year Roadmap for Mental Health Reform.

“More transparency and accountability in the mental health system will drive continuous improvement and innovation and help inform future investment in mental health,” Mr Butler said.

The Commission was one of the major recommendations of the Mental Health Expert Working Group and is built on continued and extensive consultations with the mental health sector and the community.

Through the 2011-12 Budget, the Gillard Government is investing $32 million over five years to establish the Commission.

The Commission’s first task will be to produce a National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in 2012, delivering on a key commitment of the Gillard Government.

Today’s announcement reaffirms the Gillard Government’s commitment to planning more effectively for the future mental health needs of the Australian community.

Media contact: Virginia Kim 0407 415 484


Ms Kruk has almost 30 years of significant public sector experience including as Director General of NSW Health and Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Ms Kruk was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to public administration in NSW, particularly in the areas of executive functions of government, Commonwealth/State relations and functions which align closely with those of the Commission.

Ms Kruk has a proven history in service reform at the head of Australia’s biggest health system in NSW and experience playing a central role in Commonwealth/State negotiations.

Ms Kruk has participated in major health reform negotiations and improving the interface between Federal and State Government agencies. Her skills and experience in public administration will be an asset to the Commission, helping drive effective mental health reform.