Yesterday’s 2019-20 Budget had several important things for the disability and mental health sectors.
Whilst there are some fantastic announcements, working people continue to be ignored with no substantial movement on increasing wages for Australian workers.
This means we need to continue to fight to Change the Rules.
We have summarised the relevent announcement briefly below:
Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
The Budget sets aside over half a billion dollars for this inquiry ($527.9 million). Of this, $191.1m is earmarked for the 2019-2020 Financial Year (from 1 July 2019).
As you might have heard, the NDIS is massively underspent (due to scheme rollout delays and participants, on average, using only 60% of their funding packages). $850m of this underspend was redirected prior to the Budget to increase NDIS capped prices (which is good news), but at least $1.6b was redirected into consolidated revenue to improve the Government’s bottom line and claims to a surplus.
Mental Health – Community Programs and Small Grants
The Budget papers state there will be $229.9m over 7 years ($140.8m over the 4-year forward estimates for a range of programs), which are:
- $114.5 million over five years from 2020-21 to trial eight mental health centres focusing on specialised support for adults requiring treatment, particularly after-hours;
- $43.9 million over seven years from 2018-19 (and $8.8 million per year ongoing) for a new Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program
- $15.0 million over three years from 2019-20 to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for the improvement of data on self-harm and suicide
- $11.5 million over four years from 2019-20 to the National Mental Health Commission for the National Mental Health Workplace Initiative
- $6.1 million over two years from 2019-20 to the New South Wales Government for the establishment of Grace’s Place, a residential trauma recovery centre for children
- $6.0 million over two years from 2019-20 to Bellarine Community Health to contribute to the establishment of the Ocean Grove Health and Wellbeing Hub
- $5.0 million in 2018-19 to the South Australian Government for a purpose built facility at the Repatriation General Hospital, Adelaide to provide treatment for people with eating disorders
- $5.0 million over six years from 2018-19 for Lord Somers Camp and Power House to redevelop the existing power house building on Albert Park Lake
- $4.0 million over seven years from 2018-19 for The Esther Foundation young women’s residential health, development and leadership program to provide counselling to assist with issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health and self-harm
- $1.8 million in 2018-19 to contribute to the establishment of an Integrated Youth Services Hub and a Health and Wellbeing facility in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, to support youth mental health and welfare services
- $0.3 million in 2018-19 for Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, to develop a new model of care in partnership with the World Economic Forum to incorporate international best practices into an Australian framework to improve mental health outcomes for young people.
Mental Health: Headspace
There is new funding of $263.3m over 7 years ($139.5m which commences from 1 July over the 4-year forward estimates) for Headspace. This is includes:
- $152.0 million for additional services across the headspace network to reduce waiting times
- $111.3 million for an additional 30 headspace services, including satellite services in Sarina and Whitsunday, Queensland. This will expand the headspace network to 145 services across Australia by 2021
Whilst we have seen some great outcomes in the budget, we need to remember that trickle-down wage growth is a myth and that the Government's projections have been incorrect over the past years.
This is one of the many reasons we need to Change the Rules together!