Victoria’s three leading community managed mental health providers have welcomed the focus on mental health in today’s Victorian State Budget. The record-breaking $3.8 billion investment – more than four times the previous year – shows mental health is a priority, and that the Government is ready for reform.
The CEOs of Mind Australia, Neami National and Wellways Australia firmly agree that the 2021-22 Budget demonstrates the Government’s committed to improving the mental health system, while adopting recommendations to ensure the changes are sustainable and protected well into the future.
Wellways Australia CEO Laura Collister commended the Government for delivering a budget that has responded to the voices of lived experience.
“To have the Victorian Government’s commitment to implementing all 65 recommendations from the Royal Commission reinforced in the Budget papers provides much needed clarity for the community managed mental health sector,” Ms Collister said.
“The fundamental changes that have been recommended by the Royal Commission will take time, and the 10-year timeline outlined by the Budget provides some level of comfort as to how the implementation of the 65 recommendations will be funded,” said Ms Collister.
Mind Australia CEO Gill Callister said, “this is an extraordinary investment in root and branch reform of our whole system.
“The budget’s comprehensive focus on children and young people recognises the importance of early intervention, with $141 million towards five new youth PARC services, will make a very big difference in the outcomes for young people grappling with serious mental health issues.”
“With more than $1.5 billion being directed towards community based care, the commitment of $954 million to provide health and wellbeing support – psychosocial supports – through the expansion of the 22 new area mental health and wellbeing services will make it easier to access the services people need, when they need it,” said Ms Callister.
Neami National CEO Tom Dalton said, “the budget’s commitment to providing access to services directly in the community and in people’s homes is the best way to improving the mental health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our community.”
The crucial element in this transformation will be ensuring that the systems and processes are in place to implement the reforms. Early and on-going leadership from people with lived experience will be crucial to getting it right,” said Mr. Dalton.
The Victorian State Budget has provided a pathway to reform, with all three CEOs looking forward to working in collaboration with the Victorian Government to implement changes that improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Victorians.
With last week’s Federal Mental Health budget funding, there is a real opportunity for the two spheres of government to work together to ensure we have a cohesive mental health system for Victorians.