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Victorians To Pay ‘Mental Health Tax’ To Help Cover Cost Of Better Treatment

Victorians will pay a new tax or levy to help shoulder the cost of overhauling the state's "catastrophically" failing mental health system.

Australia's first royal commission into the sector has released a 680-page interim report, laying bare the shortcomings of Victoria's system and making nine recommendations for change.

Too many people are having difficulty getting help when they need it, with an estimated 105,000 Victorians with severe mental illness not receiving specialist care.

Many of the people who do actually access support find they are not treated with respect or dignity, the inquiry has also found.

An estimated 105,000 Victorians with severe mental illness not receiving specialist care. Image:  Getty

"Once admired as the most progressive in our nation, the state's mental health system has catastrophically failed to live up to expectations," the four commissioners wrote in the report's forward.

"Past ambitions have not been realised or upheld, and the system is woefully unprepared for current and future mental health challenges."

Royal commission chair Penny Armytage said the system's failings follow long-standing under-investment in mental health.

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"It has not received the level of investment proportionate to the impact of this illness in our community," she told reporters in Melbourne.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM VICTORIA'S MENTAL HEALTH ROYAL COMMISSION'S INTERIM REPORT
  • Design and implement a new approach to mental health investment, compromised of a new revenue mechanism (a levy or a tax) and a dedicated capital investment fund
  • Fund an extra 170 youth and adult acute mental health beds
  • Expand follow-up support for people who have tried to take their own lives
  • Create a new Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Centre, which can support social and emotional wellbeing teams throughout the state
  • Establish Victoria's first residential mental health service designed and delivered by people with lived experience of mental illness
  • Boost support for workforces of people who have experienced mental health conditions or cared for someone who has

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  • Prepare for mental health workforce reform and address shortages by developing educational and training pathways and recruitment strategies
  • Create a new Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, where people who have experienced mental health conditions and researchers can work together to develop and provide services
  • Set up a Mental Health Implementation Office, to drive the implementation of the commission's recommendations.
Premier Promises To Implement All Recommendations

Premier Daniel Andrews promised to implement all nine recommendations, including the new levy or tax.

Daniel Andrews will implement all nine recommendations as the 'system is broken'. Image: AAP

"This system is broken. It will not be easy to fix it. It will not be cheap. It will take a long time, but the time has come for us to take mental illness and mental health seriously," he told parliament.

"This government will do that by implementing each and every one of the nine recommendations made today, and each and every one of the recommendations that will come in the final report in October next year."