Ministers Statement: Youth Mental Health

Ms SPENCE (Yuroke—Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Community Sport, Minister for Youth) (14:22): I rise to update the house on the important issue of youth mental health. To fix a broken system, we launched the royal commission into mental health before the pandemic, but since then we have seen unprecedented pressure on the mental health of young Victorians. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and not only has this Labor government committed to implementing every one of the recommendations of the royal commission but last year alone it invested more than $842 million in youth mental health, including new pop-up and mobile services so young people can access care closer to home; expanded specialist organisations that work with young people, including eating disorder services; new and upgraded mental health residential facilities; and, a year ahead of schedule, every government secondary and specialist school now has a dedicated mental health practitioner as well as our $200 million School Mental Health Fund kicking off in regional Victoria.

Last year’s budget committed a record $3.8 billion to reconstruct the mental health system from the ground up. It will have dedicated care streams for young people to put those with lived experience at the helm of leading programs and services. This is a huge job and one that this government is committed to. Our government has been consistent in our commitment to fixing our mental health system with long-term investments through the mental health levy. Unlike others, we will not be changing our position from one day to the next. The opposition might not know what their position on the mental health levy is or was, but Victorians know what their record is on health care. Our record is one of commitment and investment, while those opposite simply have a record of cuts. If given the chance, we would see those opposite undo all the hard work that our government, together with Victorians, has done, and this we know will mean cuts to youth mental health.