This is the first report of the select commitee, providing a wide-ranging review of many aspects of mental health care in Australia, and a set of unanimous recommendations. The decision to divide its report into two parts was the result of a particular confluence of events. In February 2006 the Council of Australian Governments agreed to initiate a rapid process of discussion and policy development on mental health; the committee was committed to ensuring that its inquiry and findings had a significant influence on this important reform process. It therefore decided to report to the Senate the bulk of its work and a suite of recommendations that the committee believes should be addressed in the CoAG policy reform discussions. In the coming weeks the committee will table a brief second report setting out some more detailed recommendations that arise from the committee’s findings in particular areas of concern.