Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) : My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, the Honourable Jaala Pulford, MP.
Funding of $26 million has been announced to address the mental health needs of sole traders and small and medium business owners and their workers.
As part of the program, St John Ambulance will provide accredited mental health support training to chambers of commerce across Victoria to swiftly boost mental health capabilities within local business communities, and registrations of interest are open now.
Mental health specialists will also be embedded in industry and business associations to provide members with immediate access to expert advisers and on-the-job training for staff to identify and respond to people in distress.
In addition, the Partners in Wellbeing telephone hotline—a free mental health support service delivered by Each, Neami National and the Australian Community Support Organisation—will be extended to 10.00 pm seven days a week and expanded to also include immediate access to business advisers and financial counsellors.
The delivery of these new services starts soon.
The action I seek from the minister is to provide my office with information on how sole traders, small and medium business owners and their workers in my area of Western Metropolitan Region can access these services.
In reply to Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan)
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business):
Thank you for your adjournment debate matter regarding how those in the Western Metropolitan Region can access the Victorian Government’s Wellbeing and Mental Health program. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on many small and medium businesses continues to be significant.
The Victorian Government has invested $26 million in the Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Victorian Businesses program. Through the program, Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business can get wellbeing and mental health support to navigate through the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Sole traders, small and medium business owners in the Western Metropolitan Region can access the following services:
• The Partners in Wellbeing hotline 1300 375 330 until 10pm each night
• Mental Health and Crisis Support training is available to a key member of each of Victoria’s local Business Associations, Chambers of Commerce or Business Networks. Registration is available at business.vic.gov.au/stjohntraining.
The Partners in Wellbeing hotline has been expanded to provide business owners under stress with free access to wellbeing and mental health advice. The accredited Mental Health and Crisis Support training provided through St John Ambulance Victoria will build mental health support capability within local business communities.
It is expected the Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Victorian Businesses program will run until 2022, with additional supports addressing the needs of businesses being introduced over the life of the program.
Businesses can visit business.vic.gov.au/wellbeingsupport to access the latest available wellbeing and mental health support. This information is also provided in languages other than English.
More information on all the Victorian Government business support measures is at the Business Victoria website: business.vic.gov.au.