Mental Health Australia – News

CEO’s Update

The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health will hand down its Final Report on 23 May 2020, and at this draft stage the message we are hearing from both the PC, and Government, is that we – the sector – can still help shape and influence the Final Report.

Yes, the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report provides a valuable, up to date statement on the significant economic costs of mental illness. It properly places the experience of mental illness in a broader social context and we commend the PC for reviewing impacts of social determinants of mental health including housing, justice, education and employment. They rightly acknowledge the lack of a national vision for mental health and further acknowledge we do not have the governance structures necessary to support national collaboration in this area.

At this stage of the process, exactly 190 days until the Final Report is presented to Government, the grand vision for systemic mental health reform we were all hoping for is not yet clear.

So what do we do next? Having spoken with Commissioner Stephen King and the Minister’s office this week about our concerns, we know the public hearings starting today in Canberra (and concluding in Launceston on 9 December) are vital to helping improve this report. Our team appeared at the Canberra hearing this morning and presented much of what I have said here.

Melanie Cantwell
Acting CEO

Towards Zero forum – Suicide prevention

A landmark forum in Canberra this week has moved Australia a step closer to a coordinated, national approach to suicide prevention. The forum brought together people from diverse community organisations, the health and government sectors, and people with lived experience. Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, attended the forum, and said everyone provided valuable insights and ideas that will help the Government respond to the issue.

Read more 

$500,000 for Men’s Sheds across Australia

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the Morrison Government is continuing to support the Men’s Shed movement with this week’s announcement of successful grant recipients under the National Shed Development Programme. In the latest round, 135 Men’s Sheds across Australia will share in $500,000 in grants that will help buy tools and equipment, maintain infrastructure, coordinate training and host community activities about men’s health issues. Read more

National Organisation

The Royal Australian Regiment Corporation, traditionally known nationally as The Royal Australian Regiment Association (RARA) is an incorporated Company which functions as the peak representative body of its constituent members: the RAR State/Territory and Battalion Associations/Corporation.

It was formed in 2009 to:

  • enhance and protect the legal rights and limited liability of its members,
  • broaden the opportunities previously not available to an unincorporated entity,
  • appoint a Board that is democratically elected and subject to current best practice corporate governance and management.


The Corporations purpose, as written in its Constitution and expanded in its By-Laws, is to provide co-ordination on a National basis for the activities of its Members when such co-ordination is necessary.

This includes:

  • fostering and protecting the interests of its Members and their members and their families in any matter likely to be relevant to them during or after their service in the Royal Australian Regiment;
  • providing advice and guidance to the Members and their members;
  • perpetuating the close bonds of comradeship and esprit de corps created by  service in the Royal Australian Regiment;
  • preserving the memory of those members of the Regiment who have died on active and overseas service;
  • representing the interests of the serving and ex-serving members of the Regiment and their families at national level;
  • planning, organising and developing benefit services and conducting events related to the Members and the Regiment;
  • developing and representing, the Members view on matters of interest to appropriate parties on National Matters;
  • conducting  fund raising activities on National Matters; and
  • fostering, promoting and supporting the formation and growth of  Members without in any way impinging on the internal management of their organisation.

 To achieve its purpose the Corporation may enter into a relationship with any other organisation whose purpose/objects are compatible with ours..



The Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors and a National Council of its Members.  The National Council comprises the Presidents of the RAR State/Territory Association Branches and the Battalion RAR Associations.

The Board  comprises:

Michael von Berg MC OAM – Chairman. Michael is the President of the SA Branch of the RAR Association. He served with 5 RAR in Vietnam and has had broad and extensive experience in international and national business activities.

He lives in Adelaide.

Hori Howard AO MC ESM – Director.  Hori is the immediate past Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Regiment. After many years in the Army was the Director of the NSW State Emergency Service. He maintains an active involvement in ES.

He lives in Austinmer NSW.

Pat McIntosh AM CSC – Director.  Pat is the Chairman of Bolton Clarke (formerly RSL Care + RDNS Ltd), Altura Learning, RDNS NZ and RDNS Hong Kong. He has extensive experience in finance, training and operational and strategic planning.

He lives in Brisbane.

Trevor Dixon – Company Secretary.  Currently undertaking post-graduate studies, Trevor is also the  Managing Director of a number of commercial enterprises.  He is an advisor to the board of the DFWA, Chairman of his local High School Council and has previous experience including appointment as Company Secretary to another national not-for-profit as well as the immediate past president of his local RSL Sub-Branch.
He lives in Brisbane.


The Corporation currently has both a Patron and Co-Patron:

Patron –          General Sir Phillip Bennett AC, KBE, DSO,    and
Co-Patron –    Lieutenant General Peter Leahy (Ret’d) AC


Patron of the National Memorial Walk (NMW) –

Major General Stuart Smith (Ret’d), AO, DSC