Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership

Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership

Statement on the anniversary of the Royal Commission's final report

Mar, 2022

Today Mental Health Victoria celebrates one year since the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System handed down its final report.

Today Mental Health Victoria celebrates one year since the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System handed down its Final Report.

Acting CEO Larissa Taylor said the anniversary is an occasion to reflect on where we have come from and celebrate what has been achieved, while also acknowledging the hard work that still lies ahead for mental health reform.

“This is an important milestone in Victoria’s reform journey,” she said.

"We have seen an immense amount of work undertaken over the past 12 months. A number of the Royal Commission’s key recommendations have already been implemented."

Larissa recognised the challenges of planning and implementing large scale reform under the difficult circumstances of the past year.  

“The Commission set out an ambitious reform agenda. It is an immense task to start to rebuild a mental health system that has been broken for decades. The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have made this more difficult still.

"However, much progress has been made.” 


Local services a marker of progress

Larissa highlighted the establishment of the Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, which will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of Victorians, their families, carers and supporters. 

Progress has been made to ensure the first six of these services remain on track to open by the end of 2022.  

Other significant achievements include:

  • The release of the Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy
  • Legislation to establish the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Co-design for Victoria’s first residential mental health service designed by people with lived experience, and
  • The appointment of Mary O’Hagan as the Victorian Government’s first Executive Director of Lived Experience.

“The commitment of the Victorian Government to implementing all of the Commission’s recommendations is an example we urge all governments — State, Territory and Federal — to follow,” Larissa said.

While celebrating this progress, Larissa noted it has only been the first year of a planned ten-year reform journey. 

"There is an immense amount of work still to be done,” she said.

"There is still significant need in the community and in the services struggling to meet demand. 

“The pandemic has further highlighted the fault lines in our broken mental health system, especially for vulnerable and at-risk groups. 

"While we must press forward with the reform agenda, we must also recognise and support the immediate need in our community." 


Getting the details right

The Royal Commission articulated a vision for an inclusive, flexible and responsive mental health system, Larissa said.

"It envisioned a system where lived experience is integral, where services are flexible and adaptive, and where any person can receive treatment and support when and where they need it."

It’s an agenda that must be pursued urgently, but also with careful consideration and consultation across the sector, Larissa said.

“We must keep our eyes on the horizon — the long term vision for where our mental health system will be by mid-decade is truly exciting.

“As we work towards that vision, it is essential that fully inclusive consultation, authentic co-design, and responsiveness to the evolving needs of Victorians are at the heart of all processes.

“These are the practical details that will ensure the Royal Commission’s vision is fully realised.”

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