HACSU has welcomed the 2020/21 Victorian State Budget, with Treasurer Tim Pallas announcing positive news for our members working in mental health, disability and alcohol and drugs services.
The State Government has announced that $869 million will be spent on mental health in Victoria. This includes introducing 144 new acute mental health beds, 35 acute treatment beds and dedicating $16 million to develop the lived experience workforce.
We know that our members in mental health have been struggling for a long time due to workplace shortages, and that the situation has become worse during the pandemic. This is something that the Andrews Government has recognised, announcing that $7.7 million will go into addressing workforce shortages. This includes providing $13 million for scholarship mentoring and 10 new nurse educator roles to transition experienced general nurses into mental health nurses.
Workforce shortages will also be addressed in the disability sector, with the government announcing that $4.6 million will be provided to support carers moving to the disability, and aged care, workforces. In other disability announcements, the government has committed $6 million over three years to expand the development and pilot of new higher apprenticeships in the social services sector. This will allow 400 existing workers to upskill while working. The government also recognised the importance of services outside the NDIS and have announced that $223.3 million will be going directly to these services, with a focus on psychosocial services.
For our members working in the alcohol and drugs sector, 80 new residential rehabilitation beds will be built in Corio, Wangaratta and Traralgon. Medically supervised injection rooms will also be expanded, with the Government providing $3.3 million to do this. The government also announced that a second supervised injecting room will be established in the City of Melbourne.
HACSU State Secretary Paul Healey welcomed the government’s commitment to the mental health, disability and alcohol and drugs services sectors.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, HACSU members on the frontlines have given their heart and soul to the care of their fellow Victorians. This budget demonstrates how much the Andrews Government appreciates their work, and cares for them. On behalf of everyone at HACSU, we’re delighted to see that the mental health, disability and alcohol and drugs services workforces will be at the very heart of Victoria’s economic recovery,” Mr Healey said.
“We welcome the government’s ‘down payment’ on implementing the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health’s full set of recommendations when they are released in February, 2021. We also welcome the long, overdue investment into strengthening Victoria’s lived experience workforces. For our members in disability, it’s great to see the government invest in pathways for carers to get into the disability workforce.”
HACSU Media & Communications Officer
Ph: 0499 221 525
To view a factsheet about what the budget delivered for mental health, disability and alcohol and drugs services, click here.