VICTORIAN BUDGET MEDIA RELEASE
The Victorian Government has unveiled a budget that invests significantly in mental health, matching big promises with significant funding.
In the first budget since the Mental Health Royal Commission recommended a system overhaul, Victoria will invest $3.8billion to rebuild the system ‘from the ground up’.
“The Victorian Government promised to fix a broken system. It’s now putting its money where its mouth is,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“The government is now starting to fund the recommendations of the Mental Health Royal Commission, and shift the system’s focus to prevention and early intervention.”
The budget also continues and in some cases expands funding for a number of welcome social policy initiatives. These include:
- Delivering a truth-telling process and treaty, including the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission.
- Supporting Victoria’s school students’ mental health and recovery from the pandemic.
- Delivering cleaner air through more trees in Melbourne’s West.
Ms King described the 2021 budget as a blueprint for Victoria’s post-COVID recovery.
“The budget strikes a smart balance between funding the urgent support services that are needed right now, and allocating money to protect and empower the state’s most vulnerable over the long term.”
Ms King said the government’s new mental health levy must not become a political football.
“Victorians’ mental health should be above politics,” she said.
“If people want the government to fund services properly then it needs to raise revenue. A levy is the method recommended by the Royal Commission.”
“Designed properly and applied fairly, this levy will play a critical role raising the money required to fix our broken mental health system.
“VCOSS urges all parties and MPs be constructive and supportive to this approach.”
VCOSS is pleased by a noticeable focus on wellbeing in the 2021 budget papers, and the establishment of a Gender Responsive Budgeting Unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance.
“VCOSS has long argued for Victoria to become a wellbeing economy, and adopt a wellbeing budgeting approach. We see positive signs in this budget that this formal shift might occur soon,” Ms King said.