Media Release health

Labor must not delay immediate change for better mental health outcomes

Evidence to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has confirmed what multiple reports have been telling us – Victoria’s mental health system is buckling under the pressure of high demand and no action to address the growing need.

It’s clear the system is in crisis when services are forced to prioritise clients based on if they are deemed “sick enough or suicidal enough”, as the Royal Commission heard yesterday.

Victoria’s mental health system is broken and the Andrews Labor Government shouldn’t use the Royal Commission as an excuse to fail to take action now that could save the lives of countless Victorians.

Despite numerous plans and reports, including two from the Victorian Auditor-General this year, that identify changes that can be implemented immediately to improve Victorians mental health outcomes, the Andrews Labor Government hasn’t lifted a finger to improve the system in the last five years.

The Auditor-General also found in March that current State funding only provides mental health services to less than half of Victorians who suffer a severe mental illness, while Victoria has the lowest per capita recurrent spend on specialised mental health services in the nation.

While we do need to see the cohesive, systemic change that will come from the Royal Commission, we can’t afford to wait for the final report in late 2020 to make the changes that can – and should – be made now.

But instead, in recent years Labor has cut funding to community mental health.

Labor must immediately provide crisis funding into Victoria’s broken mental health system, because waiting another year for the Royal Commission report will be too late for some Victorians, and that is simply not good enough.

Media Release health

Royal Commission into Mental Health

Royal Commission into Mental Health

Regional communities won’t be afforded equal access to give evidence in the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, with just one hearing to be held outside of Melbourne.

We know there are significant gaps in access to support for rural and regional Victorians, with many people stuck on waitlists for months or forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to the next available service.

But just one day out of nineteen days of hearings, which begin today, will be held for regional Victorians. This is despite one third of the Victorians seeking support from mental health services living in rural and regional areas.

The Andrews Labor Government is denying regional communities our opportunity to give evidence and provide a complete picture to a Royal Commission which will determine important change in Victoria’s mental health system.

Mental illness does not discriminate by postcode and it certainly doesn’t stop at the tram tracks.

Regional Victorians must have a fair opportunity to give evidence and have their say.  

Media Release Community Services health

Labor’s dud Ice Action Plan failing to put a lid on drug crimes

Thursday 20 June 2019

Labor’s dud Ice Action Plan failing to put a lid on drug crimes

Drug crime continues to skyrocket under the Andrews Labor Government, as Daniel Andrews puts a freeze on Labor’s failed Ice Action Plan and axes essential support programs, like Community Ice Action grants.

Figures from the Crime Statistics Agency today show methamphetamine possession has more than doubled since Daniel Andrews was elected in 2014 – up 138.7 per cent – and drug offences are up 24.83 per cent.

It’s a worrying trend that will only get worse while people struggling with addiction can’t get the urgent support they need, when they need it most.

Daniel Andrews’ only plan to tackle Ice use in Victoria is to build an injecting room in suburban Richmond. But it’s simply not hitting the mark to reduce the harms of Ice use across the state, particularly in Regional Victoria.

A crisis in availability and resourcing of rehabilitation options means Victorians genuinely seeking help to get clean are being told they’ll have to wait months to access rehabilitation.

We can’t afford to be turning people away at a critically vulnerable time in the lives of addicts and their families. But this is exactly what’s happening under Daniel Andrews.

The Andrews Labor Government likes to say it’s doubling the number of rehabilitation beds in Victoria, but while it drags its heels getting these beds operational it’s leaving the lives of Victorians at risk.

Media contact: Emma Manser    0437 225 386