Victoria will introduce a special tax as early as next year to help fund mental health services and fix the state’s “broken” system, following an interim report from a royal commission, ABC News reports
In the report tabled in State Parliament, Victoria’s mental health royal commission said even though it was barely halfway through its work, there were matters requiring “immediate action”.
The commission’s chair, Penny Armytage, said it was clear the system was “failing” and all the evidence the commission had heard had reinforced that fact.
The report urged the Victorian Government to introduce “a levy or tax”.
Premier Daniel Andrews told Parliament the report was “harrowing” reading and his Government would implement all the recommendations in the report, including the levy.
The recommendations also included:
- An additional 170 acute mental health beds for young people and adults to meet demand
- The establishment of a mental health centre for excellence
- The establishment of a centre focused on culturally appropriate treatment for Aboriginal Victorians, to work closely with community-controlled organisations
- The expansion of follow-up care for people who have attempted suicide, and an outreach program for children and young people who have self-harmed or are at risk of suicide
- A residential mental health service designed and delivered by people with lived experience
- More funded nursing and allied health professional positions in high-need areas
- Mental health study scholarships for nurses and mandatory psychiatry rotations for all junior medical officers by 2023
- A “Mental Health Implementation Office”, funded for two years to make the necessary transformative changes to the system
Ms Armytage said there had been “chronic underfunding over decades” in mental health.
“We think that it is the time for us to address what is a chronic issue where people have suffered in silence for way too long.”