2017-18 Federal Budget

  

  • VICSERV welcomes this year's Federal Budget which seeks to address a key issue for community mental health services - the gap in psychosocial support services for those not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • We call on the Victorian Government to step up and match the Federal Government's commitment to ensure mental health support is provided to people who need it now, in Barwon, and in the recent NDIS roll out areas.
  • VICSERV and its members stand ready to work with the Victorian Government to meets its responsibilities to support those affected by mental illness, their carers and families.

 

VICSERV, the peak body for community managed mental health services, welcomes the funding announced for mental health in the 2017 budget last night.

Acknowledging the critical concerns expressed by the community mental health sector about the gap in psychosocial support services for those not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the budget includes a total of $80 million additional funding for the States and Territories over four years to maintain community psychosocial services for people with mental illness who do not qualify for assistance through the Scheme.

"VICSERV welcomes the leadership shown by the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt, who continues to put a strong focus on mental health and stands firm behind his commitment to improve mental health services for Australians living with mental illness", said VICSERV CEO, Angus Clelland.

"The funding will result in $7.8m in 2017-18, and approximately $24.0m each year until 2020-21. The Minister has stressed however that the funding is contingent on a matching commitment from the States and Territories.

"For some time, VICSERV has called on the Victorian Government to address the looming gap in Victoria’s mental health service system, as a significant proportion of the Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) funding is transferred to the NDIS over the next two years.

"However, given that the funding is contingent on the collaboration of all governments, we implore Victorian State Government decision makers to come to the table, match the funding and ensure support is provided to people who need it now, in Barwon, and in the recent NDIS roll out areas", Mr Clelland said. 

"Despite the encouraging actions of the Federal Government surrounding mental health, we are concerned by the punitive welfare measures that are proposed around increased activity requirements and a proposed trial to drug test welfare recipients’ Mr Clelland said.

‘We know people with mental illness are likely to be impacted by these proposals and are over represented in these groups and the Government should be supporting them to recover and be a part of their community".

VICSERV also welcomes these other measures in the budget:

  • $9.1 million telehealth initiative set to roll-out in 2017 so that people living in rural and remote regions of Australia receive improved access to psychologists.
  • $11.1 million to prevent suicide in locations where suicide incidents repeatedly occur.  
  • $15.0 million towards research in mental health, including $5.0 million to complete work on Orygen’s National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health in Melbourne.
  • $33.5 million for expanded access to mental health treatment for current and former members of the Australian Defence Force.

VICSERV and its members stand ready to work with the Victorian Government to support those affected by mental illness, their carers and families.


10 May 2017
Media contact – Debra Parnell, Policy & Communications Manager – (03) 9519 7000
Twitter @VICSERV

Read the CMHA media release from Community Mental Health Australia

Budget Papers

Federal Budget 2017-18

Health Portfolio Budget Statements 

Mental Health Budget Breifing - Minister Greg Hunt

Media Releases and Budget Analyses

Minister Hunt

Mental Health Australia

ACOSS

Sane Australia

ProBono Not-for-Profit Winners & Losers

News outlets

Croakey - collation of media

ABC Life Matters Radio Program - Budget 2017: Moderate steps on housing affordability and funding for the NDIS 

ABC AM with Sabra Lane - NDIS welcomed but harsher welfare conditions an un-Australian break from universal service

Health sector backs lifting of Medicare rebate, mental health spending