South Eastern NSW consultations: 20 – 22 March 2019

The Commission visited communities in South Eastern NSW and held consultations in Bega and Batemans Bay. These included a lived experience community consultation in Bega, a visit to Bega High School to talk to teachers and young people and an open community consultation in Batemans Bay. Following the Bateman’s Bay consultation, we continued discussions with people with lived experience.

What is working well?

People in the region reported that: 

  • access to mental health services is improving for young people, children and families through initiatives like Headspace delivering flexible services and outreach programs to parents with infants,
  • valuing the voice of lived experience to plan, co-design and support others is an area that has developed over the last five years,
  • there is an increase in Aboriginal led healing programs in the mental health and youth justice space, which supports the social and emotional wellbeing of local Aboriginal communities,
  • there is an increase in the use of technology to deliver mental health services and supports in a range of programs, whether it be through GP’s accessing psychiatry advice on the phone or using Skype to deliver face to face mental health support for those unable to travel to services.  

Reform initiatives in your region

We had the privilege of learning about a variety of innovative initiatives and programs that are improving mental health and wellbeing in South Eastern NSW, such as:

What are the challenges?

People in the region reported that: 

  • navigating where to find services, and finding out information on what individual services deliver, is difficult, 
  • individuals and families face huge out of pocket expenses when seeing a private psychiatrist or GP, when this maybe the only service available to them. 
  • maintaining a stable health workforce remains a huge issue in the delivery of quality mental health services and supports.  This is both retaining workers in current positions, and attracting workers to the area for new programs, 
  • access to affordable housing and emergency housing was raised as a key issue which needed addressing to support good mental health in the region, as well as the need for programs and policies in the future to address cycles of disadvantage and intergenerational trauma. 

What are the priorities

The top priorities people reported were: 

  • increasing the visibility of and access to services, 
  • increase local collaboration between services, 
  • increase the number of GPs who bulk bill in the region, 
  • make programs and funding sustainable and long-term. 

"What helps you to live well in the community?"

Workshops participants took part in a digital activity that captured a one word response to the question, what helps you to live well in the community?

View the images created by our graphic scribe

View the images created by our graphic scribe on this page to see what was discussed and shared in the full day workshop. Right click on an image to save and then print as required.

Also below are photos taken from our consultations throughout the region, reproduced with permission.

For each consultation, a graphic scribe was produced outlining the primary points of the consultation.


Day 1 of the South Eastern NSW consultation which took place in Bega can be downloaded below. 


Day 2 of the South Eastern NSW consultation which took place in Bateman's Bay can be downloaded below.