Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (12:57): My constituency question is for the Honourable James Merlino, the Minister for Mental Health. The Andrews Labor government made an historic election commitment ahead of the 2018 state election to undertake a royal commission into Victoria’s mental health system. The royal commission is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this broken system and to save and improve the lives of Victorians. The interim report from the royal commission was handed down in November 2019, providing a range of immediate recommendations that we are already getting on with implementing. Last year’s Victorian state budget, 2020–21, provided $868.6 million to get underway with delivering on interim recommendations ahead of the final report and ensure that services are supported post pandemic. The final report from the royal commission was handed out today, with the Andrews Labor government already committed to implementing every single recommendation. My question to the minister is: can the minister update me on what constituents in the electorate of Western Metropolitan Region can expect following the final report being tabled and what will they benefit from in the final report?
Mr MERLINO (Monbulk—Minister for Education, Minister for Mental Health):
I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan Region for her question.
In its final report, the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System provided us with the blueprint to rebuild the mental health system from the ground up. The Victorian Government remains committed to implementing every recommendation made by the Royal Commission, and this will benefit all Victorians.
This includes wasting no time in announcing six priority sites for the establishment of new Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. These will be the first of up to 60 sites across the state, operating as a ‘front-door’ to help all Victorians access the help they need in their local community, before they reach a crisis point or end up in hospital.
For people in the Western Metropolitan Region, this includes a site in Brimbank, to be established by the end of 2022. Brimbank was identified as a priority location because it has had one of the highest per capita rates in the last year of people presenting at emergency departments having attempted suicide and, distressingly, one of the highest per capita rates of suicide over the past decade. The Department of Health will immediately start this work, including undertaking a consultation process with established local providers.
In a transformed mental health and wellbeing system, these local services will operate in partnership with reformed, area-based adult and older adult mental health and wellbeing services delivering higher intensity supports, and specialist statewide services–ensuring the right level of care is available for people at the right time.
There will now be 22 Adult and Older Adult Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services and 13 Infant, Child and Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, delivered through partnerships with non-government organisations. Partnerships will build on and extend the current arrangements set out in the delivery of sub-acute services (e.g. Prevention and Recovery Care Services) and Early Intervention Psychosocial Recovery Services.
Further, work is well underway in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission’s interim report, which was released in November 2019. This includes the design and planning of a new standalone and purpose built 25-bed multi-level facility as part of the redevelopment of Sunshine Hospital. This will be adjacent to existing mental health beds with an air bridge to facilitate movement from the emergency department. It will provide contemporary models of care and incorporates innovative modular construction methodology.
I trust this information is of assistance.