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The McKell Report

Posted on 15 February 2023

The McKell Report is a collaboration between AAPi and The McKell Institute. The report examined the demand for services and the reasons behind it, the barriers to access, the consequences of inaction, the strain on the workforce and the economic cost of the national mental health crisis. This report was included in our Pre-Budget submission and provides key policy recommendations for inclusions in the May Federal Budget.

The report's recommendations include providing access to additional subsidised psychology sessions for those with more complex mental health needs; increasing the Medicare rebate for psychologists; offering incentives to regional and rural psychologists; expanding career pathways, reinstating the 4+2 pathway and providing more Commonwealth-supported places for psychology students.

The AAPi is calling on the Federal Government to help us help more by adopting these practical measures in the forthcoming Federal Budget to urgently improve the affordability and availability of mental health care support to Australians. 

Key findings from the McKell report 

In 2020/21, over two in five Australian adults (aged 16-85 years) reported having experienced a mental disorder over the course of their lifetime.

Claims for mental health conditions grew by 73% between 2000/1 and 2019/20, and represented 28% of all disease claims in 2019-20. 

In 2018-19, the annual cost to the economy of mental ill-health and suicide in Australia was estimated to be up to $70 billion.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 88% of psychologists have seen an increase in demand for their services.

At the end of 2022, 38% of psychologists were still unable to see new clients. 


  1. Provide access to additional subsidised psychology sessions for those with more complex mental health needs.
  2. Increase the Medicare rebate for psychologists to enable more bulk billing and decrease out-of-pocket expenses to ensure that mental health services are more accessible.
  3. Offer incentives to rural and regional mental health practitioners to support practitioners to service more regional and rural areas and alleviate the build-up of demand currently faced by regional and rural practitioners.
  4. Expand MBS eligibility to provisional psychologists to support early career psychologists and improve access and timeliness of services to clients.
  5. Improve career pathways for psychology students so that they’re practice-ready when they finish. One way to achieve this would be to reinstate the 4+2 internship program - an intensive supervised training program for those who have finished the university component of their education.
  6. Provide more Commonwealth Supported Places for psychology students. This would mean that places with no, or reduced, fees would be earmarked for those wanting to train as psychologists. The number of these places would align with and be determined by workforce demands and job vacancies.

You can read the full report here