Commissioners' Message on Victorian State Budget 2024 – 2025

Commissioners' Message on Victorian State Budget 2024 – 2025

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Commissioners' Message: Victorian State Budget 2024 – 2025

Commissioners Treasure Jennings, Maggie Toko, Annabel Brebner and Jacqueline Gibson's response to the state budget:

We write to acknowledge stakeholders’ concerns with the 2024 – 2025 Victorian State Budget and advise that we are seeking clarity from the government about its decision-making process, priorities, and the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been listening to consumers, carers, peak bodies, lived experience experts, advocacy agencies and other stakeholders. We've heard stakeholders express disappointment and confusion about the future of mental health reform in Victoria, and we recognise that this may be a distressing and uncertain time for many.

We understand there is particular frustration regarding the lack of funding for Recommendation 29 – the establishment of a new agency led by people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress.

The government has also slowed the rollout of the Local Hubs, and The Healing Place was unsuccessful in its bid to fund the first iteration of a consumer-led community residential service as part of Interim Recommendation 5.

While the 2024 – 2025 State budget does include some positive initiatives, several key reforms have been delayed and many stakeholders are left with unanswered questions. Some have asked whether mental health reform is still a priority for this government.

When the Victorian Government accepted all 65 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System in 2021, key spokespeople said “There is one inescapable truth: we are failing. And it is costing lives”. The government called the implementation of the Royal Commission “The biggest social reform in a generation” and promised, “We are not wasting a day”.

On 16 May 2024, we wrote to the Department of Health and the Victorian Government requesting a briefing to explain the rationale underpinning the delay in implementing key recommendations of the Royal Commission.

We are keen to understand how decisions were made, which stakeholders were consulted, see a timeline for the delivery of recommendations and understand how people with a lived experience will play a key role in reform.

We have asked that the briefing include when the government plans to implement recommendation 29 - A new agency led by people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress and recommendation 5 of the Interim Report A [residential] service designed and delivered by people with lived experience given the high importance that people with lived experience place on them.

The Royal Commission Final Report emphasises the importance of collaboration and embedding lived experience throughout system reform. Implementing lived experience recommendations early in Victoria’s reform path is vital in achieving the intention of the Royal Commission.

The MHWC has requested a briefing on the government’s plan for the implementation of the Royal Commission by mid-June and we look forward to sharing this important response with relevant stakeholders as soon as possible.

During times of global uncertainty, fiscal hardship and cost of living pressures, the wellbeing of the Victorian people is more important than ever.

Yours sincerely,


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