Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership

Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership

Clarity becomes critical with crucial reform funding missed

May, 2024

The Victorian State Budget, released on Tuesday, revealed that notwithstanding continued investment in the mental health and wellbeing system, substantial reforms recommended by the Royal Commission have been missed.  

Mental Health Victoria shares the disappointment of many across the sector to see the Victorian Government has: 

  • failed to allocate funding to establish a Lived and Living Experience Agency, 
  • failed to provide clarity on the status of the recommended 2,000 and 500 respective supported dwellings, 
  • failed to allocate funds to enable the Healing Place, a peer-led residential support service and first of its kind for Victoria, to develop the model, workforce and evidence base to establish operations with associated lived and living experience leadership and governance in place,
  • announced a delay of the rollout of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals, and  
  • not allocated funding for the 2025 Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards, raising into question the resourcing to continuity of the Interim Regional Bodies and the work already undertaken. 

Taken together, these delays and missed timelines around core structural and resourcing priorities create doubt as to the ability to realise a better mental health system envisioned by the Royal Commission within what was an already ambitious 10-year horizon.

Mental Health Victoria remains committed to advocating for these critical initiatives and welcomes any feedback from our Associates to help shape our advocacy on these issues. Mental Health Victoria’s Media Release on the Budget is available here. 


Nation-Leading Mental Health Reform is losing momentum

We are just three years into the implementation of Victoria’s mental health reform program set by the once-in-a-generation Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Already, through this Budget, we are seeing the Government’s commitment to progressing this urgent reform in a timely manner dwindle.  

Now more than ever the sector must push for progress as we simply cannot lose momentum.  

Mental health and wellbeing impacts every single Victorian. Promoting thriving populations is cohesive to a flourishing society, as it intersects with practically every other investment the government makes whether that be in health, education, housing, justice, and more.  

Before the Royal Commission, Victoria had the lowest per capita expenditure on mental health in the country (13 per cent below the national average) [1]. The starting point of this reform was low, but concerted effort and significant investment put our sector on the path to supporting the transformation of the system.  

We know that investing in mental health is a win-win for providing positive economic and social returns including:  

  • better outcomes for people with access to prevention and earlier intervention to care and support
  • avoidable emergency department admissions and presentations  
  • reduced demand on public hospital beds  
  • reduction in homelessness  
  • reduction in engagement with the justice system 
  • improved economic productivity  
  • greater workforce participation [2]

Not only is investing in the mental health and wellbeing system necessary and the right thing to do, but it also provides a substantial return on investment for governments, the community and the broader economy.  

Reforms take time and tenacity to succeed, they also require consistency and clarity with regard to implementation and the pathway to reform. Mental Health Victoria calls on the Victorian Government to stay the course and re-commit to progressing the Victorian mental health & wellbeing system reforms.  

[1]. Mental Health Victoria, Saving lives, Saving money, June 2018.
[2] Ibid


So, what has been funded?

Mental Health Victoria welcomes and acknowledges that there is significant investment in the mental health system in the 24/25 Victorian Budget. There have been some positive wins for the sector, including:

  • $4.5 million to continue funding for the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs established as an interim model of support during the pandemic.  Three-year funding commitment to develop a pipeline of clinical mental health and wellbeing graduates to staff the existing Locals.  
  • Eating Disorders Victoria and other treatment providers have received three years of funding support. 
  • Priority populations disproportionately impacted by suicide have received one year of funding through tailored investment for services supporting young people, LGBTIQA+ communities and First Nations Victorians.  
  • $211 million invested in family violence prevention and to help victim survivors including funding to stop violence before it starts, with targeted investment in prevention.  
  • $146 million to support ambulance capacity.  

Now more than ever we must band together to progress our goals and press for transparency with regard to prioritisation, funding and reform as we continue the vital work of the mental health and wellbeing system.  


Keep in touch...

Mental Health Victoria welcomes feedback from our Associates on how we can work together as a sector to maintain momentum.   

If you are interested in being involved in discussions about the impact resulting from the Victorian State Budget 2024/25 please register your interest here

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