Melissa McIntosh appointment 

LINDSAY MP Melissa McIntosh has been appointed as the Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention by the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP.

Ms McIntosh said she was honoured to be appointed and thanked Mr Dutton for the opportunity. 

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we must recommit to supporting Australians, and working collaboratively to reduce suicide in our community. As the Member for Lindsay, I have been a strong advocate for my community’s mental health needs, and I’m proud to have delivered Australia’s first Head to Health adult mental health centre in Penrith. 

“I understand the challenges many Australians face, and how important access to support is when someone is in need. In particular, as a mother, I understand the challenges and pressures our children face day to day, this will be a key focus of my attention as Shadow Assistant Minister. 

“As Shadow Assistant Minister I will fight for greater access to support and on-the-ground local services across the nation, as well as early intervention programmes. 

“The Coalition Government made record investments in health, and in the most recent Budget, there was a $6.8 billion package for mental health, which is almost double that of the previous Labor Government. At a local level, I established the Lindsay Healthy Active Living Network, which was launched by the then Minister for Health Greg Hunt, to provide better health outcomes for people in my community. 

“This network has been a valuable platform for connecting our community, services, small businesses, and sporting and recreation organisations on issues around health more broadly, and also specifically on mental health. 

“We can only guarantee these essential services with a strong economy, and as a member of the Dutton Coalition Team, this is what I’ll fight for every day. 

“I look forward to working with key mental health stakeholders, including the many organisations dedicated to saving lives, health and medical professionals, and people with lived experiences – we must work in partnership with those on the frontline to ensure we have community led solutions to these challenges. 

“I will work collaboratively with the Labor Government to achieve positive outcomes for Australians. It is also my responsibility to keep the Government accountable for their policies, and election commitments in the mental health and suicide prevention space.”

Senator Payne appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary 

Mr Dutton told media that former Foreign Affairs Minister (and local resident) Senator Marise Payne had asked not to be considered for Shadow Cabinet.  He added that he’d worked very closely with her for some time and had the utmost respect for her, and was happy she had agreed to take up a role.

“Marise is going to fill the role of Shadow Cabinet Secretary, which is a very important role,” Mr Dutton said. “She’s had a breadth of experience and been an exceptional contributor to her team over the years. Her wise council and experience will be of great assistance to us.”