26 September 2023

Call for Federal mental health funding

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The Victorian Government has called for urgent national reform and a dedicated revenue mechanism to address mental health costs in its submission to the Commonwealth’s Mental Health Productivity Commission Inquiry.

Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley released the State’s second submission to the Inquiry, saying Australia’s mental health system had fundamentally failed to ensure people got the care they needed.

“As the Productivity Commission itself noted, mental illness costs Australia around $180 billion a year – or $500 million a day,” Mr Foley said.

“This is reflected in the recent findings from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System interim report, which found poor mental health results in an estimated $1.6 billion loss in productivity and a further $4.8 billion lost in foregone wages,” he said.

Mr Foley said the submission highlighted WorkSafe Victoria’s estimate that one in five workers would experience mental illness or injury each year.

He said that in 2018-2019, mental injury claims made to WorkSafe were expected to reach $550-700 million.

“The submission states that this number is expected to grow even further, with mental injuries estimated to increase 34 per cent by 2030, compared to an expected 12 per cent increase for physical injuries,” he said.

Mr Foley said as well as a dedicated revenue mechanism, the submission argued for the Commonwealth to partner with States and leading nongovernment organisations to deliver consistent, world class mental health services.

He said the final Productivity Commission report was expected to be handed over to the Commonwealth in late May.

He said the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System would hold another round of public hearings in April and release its final report in October.

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