MINISTERS STATEMENTS: MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING
MR PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (14:14):
This government’s landmark Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System estimated that the economic cost of poor mental health to Victoria is around $14.2 billion a year.
That includes a cost of $1.9 billion a year to employers, mostly of course through a loss of productivity but also through, sadly, workplace injuries.
The commission’s findings identified that properly investing in our state’s mental health will boost economic growth but it will also provide a dedicated revenue stream to support mental health into the future. Impacting only about 5 per cent of the largest employers in our state, our mental health levy is already paying dividends, with $3.8 billion having been invested in our last budget to rebuild the mental health system.
Unless of course those opposite’s positions have changed since 6 o’clock last night, I think the Leader of the Opposition has now offered his belated support—but only because they cannot repeal the legislation they voted against.
On this side of the chamber we are steadfast in our commitment to rebuilding our mental health system. Some in this debate are conscripts of political convenience, not volunteers to good policy.
Their record is voting against secure mental health funding. They are promising to repeal this funding mechanism, so no matter what they say today, they will cut mental health funding, be assured of that, because their values speak louder than the words that they utter on a point of convenience.
It is vitally important that we provide the certainty of investment and the security of the knowledge that this government will continue to invest in mental health to ensure the wellbeing of all Victorians.