Yesterday, VMIAC attended a Special Interest Group briefing, hosted by Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, to outline the key elements of the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget. Here is our summary of the key discussions relating to mental health.
Described as ‘elegant and thoughtful’, Dan Andrews hopes this budget will set Victorians up for a bright and robust future. The Victorian Government plans to make big investments in areas such as increased affordable and social housing (the biggest investment in the history of our nation), and job security in the knowledge that these areas have the biggest impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health stands front and centre of this budget, with the Premier stating that ‘there is no health without mental health, and no health system without a mental health system’. The Victorian Budget 2020/21 includes $868.6 million to ensure Victorians have the mental health support they need as ‘we get on with fixing a broken system.’
Funding areas specific to the rollout of the interim recommendations from the Royal Commission into Mental Health include:
- $492 million to deliver 120 mental health beds, with an additional $18.9 million to provide 35 acute treatment beds for public mental health patients in private health services
- $21.4 million to support expansion of Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service
- $2.2 million to kick-start the design of the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing
- $16 million for the lived experience workforce in the form of training positions, education and employment, with $7.3 million for a service designed and delivered by people with lived experience.
- $8.7 million to establish a residential mental health service designed and delivered by those with lived experience as a true alternative to acute hospital-based care
In addition, the Andrews Labour government will invest an extra $223.3 million over the next four years to support Victorians with a disability who are not eligible for the NDIS, including support for people with psychosocial disability who do not meet the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) threshold for NDIS access.
In this Budget, the Andrew’s Government makes it clear that equality is not negotiable, with $1 million in funding going to the LGBTIQ+ Community Grants program to strengthen sustainability and leadership capacity. Furthermore, in recognition of women’s mental health being disproportionately impacted by the major events of this year, it is hoped that the final recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will provide gender-sensitive mental health care within an environment that is sexually safe for women and gender minorities.