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Mental Health News


Earlier this week, the interim recommendations were released from the Royal Commission into Mental Health in Victoria. Up until this point, it’s been unclear where these recommendations would place HACSU members, however we have known that the Victorian Government had committed from the outset to implementing every one of the recommendations put forward.

Now the recommendations have been released, we have more clarity around the impact to the sector and to HACSU members. We’re delighted to report that our recommendations, made earlier this year, for a minimum of 180 new positions each year in mental health nursing, and other allied health professions have been accepted by the Royal Commission. While we haven’t had the opportunity to review every one of the 680 pages of the report, which you can view here as yet, we can say that HACSU members’ concerns have been heard by the Commissioners.

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The interim report represents a major win for HACSU, our members, allies, and for the consumers, carers and families we all work to support. Our attention and energies will now be focused on ensuring that the Victorian government delivers on its promise to implement these recommendations in full.

We can also report that the recommendations make note of the impact of dual disability in the mental health sector and the positive and negative impacts that have come about as a result of the NDIS.

We are still working our way through the Royal Commission’s full report, but wanted to give HACSU members an early snapshot of some of what we consider to be the key findings from the report.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Copy of MH Statewide Poster
REMINDER! The Statewide EBA Mass Meeting is taking place on December 10th! Check your emails or get in touch for details and to RSVP!


What is this report, and why is it important?

This morning’s report is the interim report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system.

It makes numerous recommendations for changes aimed at redressing urgent problems in the Victorian mental health system.

It is not a final report. The interim report signals the direction of the final report (due October 2020). Recommendations in both reports will influence the future direction of the mental health system in Victoria.

The Commission expects that between now and October 2020 the Victorian Government will

begin implementing all the recommendations presented in this interim report. We therefore expect work to begin immediately to implement these recommendations.

The Royal Commission’s recommendations will be expensive. Current- inadequate- sources of funding will not be sufficient. The Royal Commission is recommending that the Victorian Government introduces a specific levy or tax for the funding of mental health system, and a dedicated capital investment fund.


Key Recommendations for HACSU members:

The Royal Commission has recommended:

  • 120 additional funded graduate placements annually for mental health nurses
    • This is in addition to the current full-time equivalent staffing profile, to encourage and sustain growth.
  • Postgraduate mental health nurse scholarships to 140 additional nurses annually that covers the full costs of study.
  • 60 new funded graduate placements annually for allied health and other professionals in public mental health services in areas of need, including in rural and regional locations
  • 30 flexible scholarships be awarded over the next five years to help employ Aboriginal people while they obtain clinical qualifications.
  • Educational and training opportunities and optional qualifications for lived experience workers, including
    • adding the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to the free TAFE course list
    • structural supports such as supervision, training, career pathways and remuneration  expansion and variation of lived experience work, including offering options for progressing and specialising. For example, specialist advancement could allow for development of business or management skills;

The Royal Commission has also directed major new investment in infrastructure and bed capacity. This includes:

  • Funding for 170 additional youth and adult acute mental health beds to help address critical demand pressures. This will include:
    • 135 additional acute inpatient public mental health beds or equivalent beds, with the majority of these delivered by the end of 2021 and the remainder by mid-2022.
    • These beds will be proportionally provided to Barwon Health and to Melbourne Health, the latter in alliance with Western Health and Northern Health.
      • Barwon Health—to service the Barwon region of Victoria
      • Melbourne Health, in alliance and partnership with Northern Health and Western Health—to service the inner-west, mid-west, northern and north-western regions of metropolitan Melbourne.
    • The majority of beds are directed to be operational by the end of 2021 and the remainder by mid-2022.
  • The establishment of a new entity, called the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing. This will bring people with lived experience together with researchers and experts in multidisciplinary clinical and non-clinical care to develop and provide adult mental health services, conduct research and disseminate knowledge with the aim of delivering the best possible outcomes for people living with mental illness.
  • The establishment of Victoria’s first residential mental health service designed and delivered by people with lived experience.


Click here to download a copy of this factsheet you can distribute in your workplace. Get in touch if you have any questions, comments or just want to chat 1300 651 931.

Mental Health Royal Commission