Vice Chancellor, Professor Adam Shoemaker

Colleagues, it's wonderful to be with you. I’ve been listening very attentively to the proceeding session and I must say I’ve learned a lot already.

My name is Adam Shoemaker, as indicated on the screen. I’m delighted to be the Vice Chancellor of Victoria University and it's a fantastic place to research, to do really important public-purpose research.

We are indeed a public-purpose, taxpayer-endowed university and we're proud of it.

I also want to acknowledge and recognize the elders and ancestors and families of the Boonwurrung, Woiwurrung and Wurundjeri of the Kulin nations. The original nations of many of the areas where our campuses are located, and there's much inspiration and need and wisdom in associated with mental care and mental health in those communities, and we are learning from them as well.

I’m very, very pleased to be part of this launch event. It's a personal interest, but a professional one as well, and what an appropriate name - Being Equally Well.

The roadmap of recommendations, which you've just heard about, and from Rosemary on, addresses really critical issues.

At a time of pandemic, can you imagine a more needful time to now it's just absolutely the case and it's a real issue of access and equity for people with serious mental illness throughout the Austrian community. and beyond .

But in addition to saying that, I think it is important to recognise the work that’s been done. I’ve been listening to the issues of fragmentation, comorbidity data, all of these are crucial, but it's all in the service of better trackable real outcomes. Remember that. I think better outcomes, is what I’m taking away as being the key. I think Minister Hunt has joined us and we'll be looking forward to hearing from him in just a moment.

The University’s strategic plan is based upon this idea of being a public-purpose, taxpayer endowed institution.

And it's devised and assembled almost entirely, interestingly, online during this pandemic with a big commitment, by on behalf of the university, to care and to act and that's, I believe, what this project is all about.

Just think that one of the areas that the university is located in, in terms of western Melbourne, has a population of 1.2 million people. Approximately the same size as Adelaide. There is a need, there too, and it is very much the case that we want to partner, with principle, in and with organizations in the west of Melbourne and elsewhere to make this happen, just to give you one concrete example, an instance, we recently signed an agreement with Orygen to open a clinic right on campus, in our Werribee campus in the west of Melbourne as an as a symbol and an actuality being open, inclusive and effective. We really look forward to working in this space with you.

Equity of access and opportunity for an engaging contributing life for disadvantaged people and communities is what drives us. is at the heart of what drives the university. And it's what led to the establishment of the Mitchell, the Mitchell institute at Victoria University in the first place. The Mitchell, I’m very happy to say, is thriving, is working, and this is a great example, in particular, of the health research which is undertaken so well. It really represents, I think, the best of our aspirations to do more, and to do more for those who need it the most.

This project, as you know, has been supported very ably by the Department of Health federally and we're really grateful, very appreciative of that support.

And again, returning to the name Being Equally Well. All three words matter the BEING, EQUALLY and the WELLNESS all three come together with this topic.

It's now my very great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Honourable Greg Hunt, to formally launch this report and the outcomes.

 Thank you Minister. It’s great to have you with us.

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Well Minister, it is one of those days, where we're incredibly proud to be all on the same virtual page and we know that this is one of the moments when we're really proud of a nationally, consistent and really evidence-driven approach. I’m incredibly proud of this project as well and, as you pointed out, this kind of research is very powerful. Policy is very powerful. Organizations working together are very powerful. But most importantly, population participation is incredibly powerful and that's essentially what a public-purpose, taxpayer-endowed approach and university is about to. So bringing those together really gives us the greatest sense of hope for the future, at a time when, as we know, as and, as you pointed out, many people are doing it tough.

I just got off Zoom this morning was the Rector of the National University of Timor-Leste that Dili is another and, of course Timor, is another area where record numbers of Covid are occurring, and lockdowns, but we talked about solutions as well and, just as you are talking about solutions here, we completely endorse thank you for that.

We also want to thank you for the commitment that you and your government have made to this research enter the Austrian Health Policy Collaboration.

And the announcement of a further $600,000 towards that work in the next three years. We don't take it for granted. We know it's taxpayer funds, and we are grateful for every penny of it. Thank you so much.

But, most importantly, what we want to do here is acknowledge that the Mitchell Institute, as a leader of this work, and Rosemary, as a leader of the AHPC, it really takes things forward as an agenda. It really takes things forward as a collective, joined-up agenda between health process, clearly, mental and physical health, and the way it can go forward in an ensemble.

So, I’d like to say this: we care and, like you, we act.

Thank you so much, Minister. It's been a great morning and it all bodes really well for the success of this Being Equally Well report, its roadmap, and actually making it happen.

Rosemary I’ll hand back to you and thank you again, Minister.