Great question. Awareness of mental health and the issues with the current system have grown across society and the Victorian Government. Two years ago we committed to fixing it by establishing this nation’s first ever Royal Commission into Mental Health. Earlier this year, in March 2021, we received its final report.
It contained 3,195 pages, 12,500 contributions, 65 additional recommendations, and one inescapable truth: the system is failing , and it is costing lives.
These profound failures have impacted the lives of countless Victorians for decades and as a Government we have committed to implementing every single one of the Commission’s recommendations, to serve as a blueprint for delivering the biggest social reform in a generation: rebuilding our mental health system from the ground up.
The 2020-21 Budget provided $867.8 million in mental health funding, of which over $578 million is for the implementation of Royal Commission recommendations.
And in the 2021-2022 Budget, we invested a record $3.8 billion dollars to lay the foundations of this new system and make sure it works for the people who use it.
In simple terms, some of the key findings of the Royal Commission into Mental Health were:
Demand for services has overtaken our capacity to provide them. Community-based services are under-supplied.
There is a ‘missing middle’ where people are either not ‘ill enough’ or ‘too ill’.
Access to services is not equitable across regions. Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Indigenous communities also face limitations to access.
Emergency departments are used as entry points, often meaning people don’t access support before reaching a point of absolute crisis. This also impacts the efficiency of operations in emergency departments as they have not been designed to be the entry point in our mental health system.
Communities and workplaces do not adequately support good mental health and wellbeing.
The focus on personal recovery needs to be strengthened.
Some groups face further barriers, particularly LGBTIQ and CALD communities.
Mental illness can be compounded by housing instability.
System-wide reform, investment and accountability is necessary. So that is what we are doing.
There are 65 recommendations in the Final Report, and nine in the Interim Report. The Final Report sets out a 10-year vision for a rebalanced system, where mental health and wellbeing treatment, care and support are provided in the community, hospital and residential settings.
Key recommendations include:
A new network of 50-60 local mental health and wellbeing services across the state.
New community-based residential facilities.
24/7 crisis responses from mental health services to anyone in the community.
A brand-new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act.
A new independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to monitor progress and support people living with mental illness. Families and carers are to be included in re-designing the system.
New youth residential services across the state in the form of Prevention and Recovery Centres.
Three new infant, child and youth mental health specialist hubs.
Funding to Switchboard to support LGBTIQ+ people in navigating and accessing the system.
Two new healing centres delivered by Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations.
Eight new family and carer-led support centres across the State.
A new agency led by people with lived experience of mental health or psychological distress.
Funding to Satellite House to better support young carers.
Remember, every single one of the report’s 65 recommendations will be implemented.
The inherent dignity of people living with mental illness or psychological distress will be respected, and necessary holistic support will be provided to ensure their full and effective participation in society.
Family members, carers and supporters of people living with mental illness or psychological distress will have their contributions recognised and supported. Alongside people with lived experience of mental illness of psychological distress, they will be central to the planning and delivery of mental health treatment, care and support services.
Comprehensive mental health treatment, care and support services will be provided on an equitable basis to those who need them and as close as possible to people’s own communities – including in rural areas.
There will be collaboration and communication between services, within and beyond the mental health and wellbeing system, and at all levels of government.
Responsive, high quality, mental health and wellbeing services will attract a skilled and diverse workforce.
Mental health and wellbeing services will use continuing research, evaluation and innovation to respond to community needs now and in the future.
In the next 12 months, these are some of the landmark changes that will be taking place in our Mental Health system.
We are building a new hospital in the Home services with Orygen Youth Services and Barwon Health, Geelong.
We are expanding the Hospital Outreach Post-Suicidal Engagement (HOPE) service state-wide.
We are creating four new HOPE services specifically for children and young people.
We are addressing the critical workforce shortages. There’s some more detail on scholarships and grad positions we could add here
We are establishing new Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards to better connect current services at a local level.
We are creating a Mental Health Improvement unit in Safer Care Victoria to oversee improvements in the safety and quality of mental health services.
We are providing urgent funding to Switchboard Victoria to better support the mental health of LGBTIQ+ community members, including through its Rainbow Door program.
The 2020-21 Budget began this crucial recovery and redevelopment work with $869 million, then the single biggest investment in mental health Victoria had ever seen.
Now in the 2021-22 Budget, we’re delivering a record $3.8 billion investment to truly transform the way mental health and wellbeing support is offered in our state.
Funding to Victorian mental health services has increased by more than 75 per cent under the Andrews Government since 2014.
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System tackled some challenging topics.
If you or someone you know would like specific help or advice, you can contact:
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back 1300 659 467
Kids Help Line 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
eheadspace 1800 650 890
Carers Australia 1800 242 636
For situations that are harmful or life-threatening contact emergency services immediately – triple zero (000).
In May of 2021, the Andrews Labor Government unveiled its ambitious Climate Change Strategy and interim targets, maintaining Victoria's position as a leader in tackling climate change, with the strongest targets and actions towards them of any State or Federal Government in Australia. Victoria has already cut its emissions by 24.8 per cent based on 2005 levels, achieving our 2020 emissions reduction target two years early. We remain on track to meet our 2025 target.
It is our goal and intention to reduce emissions by 28-33% by 2025, and 45-50% by 2030. This strategy keeps Victoria on track to meet our target of net zero emissions by 2050, and seizes the opportunities of climate action; advancing technology, investing in new industries and creating Victorian jobs.
Goals are nothing without action and continued innovation, which is why this Andrews Government is investing over $100 million to transform the transport sector, offering up to $3,000 for Victorians who buy zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) and a target that 50 per cent of all new car sales in Victoria will be ZEVs by 2030. With the knowledge that range anxiety is a massive obstacle in the uptake of ZLEVs, we are utilising charges to fund a big boost of charging stations, to encourage uptake and support those already driving these zero or low-emission vehicles.
We're investing almost $20 million to reduce emissions in agriculture and make farms more sustainable. This includes $3.9 million to fund world-leading research and trials of new feed to reduce emissions from livestock.
A further $15.3 million for the Victorian Carbon Farming Program will help farmers store more carbon in shelterbelt trees and engage in agroforestry.
Government operations, from schools and hospitals to police stations and metro trains, will also be powered with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 – an Australian first.
The Climate Change Strategy follows the Andrews Government’s major investment to transition our state to a cleaner economy, powered by 40 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.
This year, we are installing Australia’s largest lithium-ion battery in Moorabool to modernise the state’s electricity grid, support new renewable energy capacity and improve power supply in the face of increasingly hot summers. We continue to deliver grants for the installation of solar panels, especially at state schools, and have a range of grant programs for community groups and businesses seeking to be environmentally responsible and proactive.
The Government has allocated more than $100 million to transform our transport sector, offering $3000 for Victorians who buy zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs). Our target is that 50 percent of all new car sales in Victoria will be ZEVs by 2030.
We’re further encouraging the uptake of zero and low emission vehicles with discounted vehicle registration fees and stamp duty concessions, investing over $45 million in fast charging networks for motorists across major highways and tourism destinations, a state-wide trial to investigate solutions to achieve a zero-emissions bus fleet, and funding to introduce electric vehicle-ready provisions in new buildings from 2022. Research has also told us that a key hurdle to people buying electric vehicles is 'range anxiety', the concern about how far vehicles can travel without charge and a lack of charging stations, which the Government is actively working to mitigate by utilising road charges paid ZLEV owners to build more charging stations across the state.
The ZLEV charge is a road-user charge for Victorian registered Zero and Low Emission Vehicles (ZLEVs). These charges will apply to light vehicles not predominantly powered by a fuel source such as petrol, diesel or LPG – so, we’re talking hybrids and electric cars.
The road usage charge will help to service the building and maintenance of roads. It will also pay for the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations across Victoria. Research has shown that the main hurdle to people buying electric vehicles is range anxiety, and that is what the Government is trying to reduce by building more charging stations across the state.
Owners of petrol and diesel cars get taxed 4 cents/km. The average driver in Australia drives around 13,100 kms every year. This works out to be roughly a charge of $550-$600 a year in fuel excise tax, depending on how many kilometres the driver commutes.
In contrast, electric vehicle owners will only be charge 2.5 cents/km and plugin hybrid electrical vehicles will pay 2 cents/km. For the average driver who completes around 13,100 kms every year they can expect to pay a road usage charge of around $330 for electric vehicles or $260 for plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, per year.
If you drive 20,000 kilometres a year, this becomes a saving of $300-$400 compared to petrol and diesel drivers.
Australian drivers pay a fuel excise to the Commonwealth Government when they fill their vehicle up with petrol, diesel or LPG. This money is then redistributed to the states to pay for the maintenance and expansion of roads.
Zero and Low Emission Vehicles (ZLEV) obviously use less fuel (in the case of a hybrid vehicle) or no fuel (in the case of an electric vehicle). These cars still use our roads though and we have to make sure that the cost of servicing these roads is shared by all drivers. Making Zero and Low Emission Vehicles (ZLEV) more attractive also involves substantial investment in our roads.
Research has shown that the main hurdle to people buying electric vehicles is range anxiety. The Government is working towards reducing this hurdle with over $45M of investment in charging stations across the state. The road usage charge will help us to continue to pay for the maintenance of our roads whilst building the infrastructure to make ZLEV vehicles more attractive for buyers.
Our target for 2030 is to see that 50% of all new car sales in Victoria are ZLEVs. That will only happen if ZLEV drivers have confidence that the charging infrastructure has been built to support their car.
The distance-based charge is 40-50% less than what owners of internal combustion engine vehicles pay towards the servicing of the roads. Owners of petrol and diesel cars will pay on average, $600 a year in fuel excise tax. In contrast, EV owners driving the same distance would only pay $330 per year in road usage charges and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle owners would only pay $260 per year.
ZLEV owners subject to distance-based charges will continue to receive a $100 discount on their annual Victorian registration.
The Victorian Government is also offering $3,000 to Victorians who purchase zero-emission vehicles.
Conventional hybrid vehicles will no longer be eligible for a $100 registration discount, but will also not be charged this distance-based charge, due to their vehicle’s predominant use of petrol or diesel.
Working towards a future where the majority of road vehicles are zero or low emission vehicles is a complex, but worthwhile task. The Victorian Government is supporting this transition and believes the road usage charge is fair to all drivers. Owners of internal combustion engine cars cannot be the only people contributing to the cost of road maintenance and upgrades. It will take low-income earners longer to shift to electric cars, as there are limited supplies of affordable and/or second-hand EVs. These lower-income earners cannot be the only people paying for the maintenance and upgrades of our roads – everyone needs to contribute.
This Government takes the climate crisis seriously, and we have many initiatives to make zero emission travel more affordable and accessible. That is why we’re thinking ahead – more people will buy ZLEVs if the road and charging infrastructure exists to support their choice.
A $330 road usage charge for electric vehicles will help to build the necessary infrastructure and is not a disincentive when the charge is 40-50% less than the fuel excise tax paid on internal combustion engines.
ZLEV will also continue to receive a $100 registration discount and $3000 grant when you buy a new ZLEV.
Neither do we. Unfortunately, the State Government only has a limited ability to impact the cost associated with Electric Vehicles. The Australian Government, on the other hand, could be making EVs cheaper to purchase , levelling the playing field when it comes to the accessibility of these vehicles. While the UK Government and other governments around the world are doing this, ours isn’t.
There are no new electric cars available in Australia for less than $40,000, and only five for less than $60,000. In comparison, there are more than two dozen electric cars available in the UK for less than AU$60,000, including eight that cost less than Australia’s cheapest electric car.
Federal Labor have announced that they will introduce an Electric Car Discount – to make electric cars cheaper so that more families who want them can afford them and help us reduce emissions. Read more about that here.
The Andrews Government is investing $1.6 billion in our energy system – the largest investment of any State Government, ever. This includes $540 million to develop all of Victoria’s six Renewable Energy Zones, and building the largest lithium-ion battery in the Southern Hemisphere, just outside of Geelong, to help support the state’s transition to renewable energy and drive down electricity prices.
As we transition away from fossil fuel cars, we have to consider not only the incentives for buying ZLEV cars but also the source of the electricity that will power them. More electric cars powered by fossil fuel generated electricity will not reduce emissions.
That is why the Victorian Government is providing incentives to purchase ZLEVs whilst simultaneously investing in renewable energy, batteries and a more efficient energy grid.
The Victorian Big Battery will deliver cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable power and help us reach our ambitious target of halving emissions by 2030. It's the biggest battery in the southern hemisphere and is operating now.
The battery was delivered thanks to the Andrews Labor Government directing the Australian Energy Market Operator to source a System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) using new legislation that was passed by the Government in 2020 to bring forward critical transmission investments.
The battery reserves 80 per cent of its capacity to allow the energy market operator to increase the power flow through the Victoria-New South Wales Interconnector. This means Victoria has access to more power when it is most needed and can deal with challenges in the transmission system.
The battery will also help reduce wholesale prices – and people’s power bills – by storing cheap renewable energy and discharging it when needed. Independent analysis shows that every $1 invested in the battery will deliver $2.40 in benefits to Victorian households and businesses.
We are further cementing Victoria’s status as the clean energy capital of Australia, with a funding boost of $40 million for offshore wind projects to drive jobs and bring forward the next wave of renewable energy opportunities.
As part of the Energy Innovation Fund, the Labor Government is kickstarting three major offshore wind projects – from Star of the South, Macquarie Group and Flotation Energy – which have the potential to create up to 5,600 jobs, bring more than $18 billion in new investment to Victoria and power around 3.6 million homes.
Wild winds off Victoria’s coastline − which are among the best in Australia and the world − could see our state become an offshore wind powerhouse, driving economic development and helping us reach our target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.The funding boost will support feasibility studies and pre-construction development, including environmental assessments, and adds to $96 million the companies are already investing in these projects.
The Star of the South will receive $19.5 million to support pre-construction development activities for an offshore wind farm off the Gippsland coast. If built to its full, proposed scale, it would have up to 2.2GW of capacity – enough power to provide nearly 20 per cent of Victoria’s energy needs.
Macquarie Group will receive $16.1 million to facilitate initial development stages of a 1GW offshore wind farm off the Bass Coast. Flotation Energy will receive $2.3 million for scoping studies and surveys for a 1.5GW offshore wind farm off the coast of Gippsland.
The funding will help each company conduct studies to determine the exact location of each project. All major projects will require a rigorous community consultation process and will be subject to a range of regulatory approvals including environmental impact assessments.
This funding is part of the enormous investment the Labor Government is making in renewable energy. Concrete commitments, like our $1.6 billion clean energy package announced in the Victorian Budget 2020/21, have ensured one third of all Australia’s renewable energy jobs are based in Victoria – more than any other state.
We’re supercharging Victoria’s zero emissions (ZEV) vehicle journey with:
➡ Easier access to Victoria’s $3,000 ZEV Subsidy
➡ $5 million awarded for a public fast-charging network AND
➡ $3 million in new charging grants for local council and business fleets
Today’s announcements, made under the Government’s $100 million Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap, will significantly ramp up Victoria’s charging infrastructure coverage, slash emissions, and in the longer term make ZEVs more affordable by growing the second-hand market.
Fast charging in Boroondara Strips will be installed at: Burwood Village Shopping Strip & Glenferrie Road Shopping Strip.
The Andrews Government is building 206 homes for people who need them at Bills Street in Hawthorn. This will be one of the first sites to be delivered through the Government's landmark Big Housing Build to revolutionise our state's social and affordable housing. Victoria has the lowest social and affordable housing stock in the country and the Government is determined to address this shortfall. The Big Housing Build is a $5.3 billion project which will deliver more than 12,000 homes across Victoria and create 10,000 jobs every year for the next four years.
Prior to demolition, the site originally housed 52 units across eight buildings. The new site will house 206 dwellings across 6 buildings.
Find out more about the development and take a look at the plans, designs and reports at https://engage.vic.gov.au/bills-street-hawthorn-redevelopment
206 new dwellings will be built on Bills Street, a mix of mostly one and two-bedroom dwellings.
The project will not only create capacity for more than 500 Victorians for whom stable housing would otherwise be out of reach, it will also create around 1,050 local jobs.
The development will comprise of 103 social housing dwellings and 103 affordable dwellings. This 50/50 composition will be salt and peppered throughout the site, with no visible distinction between social and affordable homes. This, as Housing Minister Richard Wynne said in Parliament, is "exactly the policy response this Government has always strived for - integration of communities".
Further information can be found here:
You may have heard the Bills Street project referred to as a 'Fast Start Site' in the Big Housing Build. This means it's one of a handful of sites being prioritised in order to boost social housing supply by 10% in just four years. Victoria has the lowest social and affordable housing stock in the country and the Government is determined to address this shortfall as quickly as possible.
However, this project has been in development since 2017.
- In 2019-2020 we used council and community feedback to update and improve the draft plans.
- In March 2021, Engage Victoria shared how feedback on the draft plans has influenced the development plans. Further community feedback on the development plans was sought, focusing on the connections and use of open spaces and landscaping. Consultation closed in April.
- Homes Victoria further consulted with broader stakeholders like Boroondara Council and nearby sporting clubs. In response to this feedback, a further 39 changes were made to the designs. The community engagement report and the consultation report can be accessed on this page: https://engage.vic.gov.au/bills-street-hawthorn-redevelopment
Enabling works will commence at the end of 2021 and full construction is expected to begin in 2022.
People just like you. Community members have been a part of this process since the beginning, through Engage Victoria's community consultation. The Community Reference Group (CRG), chaired by John Kennedy, the Member for Hawthorn, have been meeting since mid 2021. CRG meetings will continue throughout the build stage. The CRG consists of local residents, sport clubs, other community stakeholders and Council representatives.
John Kennedy consistently advertised community consultation opportunities on his website and in his Fortnightly Update. You can subscribe to the Fortnightly Update at the bottom of this page to keep up to date with the project's progress and any similar opportunities in the future.
May 2017: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) meets with Boroondara Council, flags intention to redevelop Bills Street estate for a mix of social and private apartments (10% increase of social housing).
June 2017: DHHS sketch plans proposing 400-450 apartments in buildings up to 12 storeys.
July 2017: Council prepares and adopts Urban Design Framework, approx. 250-300 apartments in buildings up to 9-storeys, launches Consultative Committee.
November 2020: State Government launches "Victoria's Big Housing Build". Identifies Bills Street as a 'fast start site'.
March 2021: Homes Victoria launches online public consultation, consisting of an online survey that was open for four weeks, as well as 5 online community sessions.
June 2021: Homes Victoria publishes Community Engagement report (https://engage.vic.gov.au/bills-street-hawthorn-redevelopment), traffic impact study (https://engage.vic.gov.au/bills-street-hawthorn-redevelopment/traffic-impact-assessment), artist impressions, detailed plans of the buildings, play areas and landscape on the Engage Victoria website (https://engage.vic.gov.au/bills-street-hawthorn-redevelopment)
June 2021-August 2021: Homes Victoria shared the development plans along with proposed plans to replace the existing carpark with Boroondara Council and other key stakeholders.
September 2021: Homes Victoria publishes the consultation report, including 39 changes made to the designs following feedback from Boroondara Council.
November 2021: Hansen Yuncken is appointed as the builder for the project. It is a novated design which means changes can be accommodated throughout the build. Homes Victoria continue discussions with Boroondara Council on the design of the replacement carpark.
Late November-December 2021: Enabling works commence on the site at Bills Street.
Early 2022: Construction set to commence.
(Adapted from a resource provided by Boroondara Council)
If any trees need to be removed for the development, each tree will be replaced by 2-3 new trees. Trees on the southern boundary of the development that needs to be removed will be replaced with mature trees that will be 3-4 metres tall on the day of installation and will grow to approximately 10 metres tall.
Homes Victoria will build a replacement carpark next to the existing carpark. Homes Victoria are in discussions with Boroondara Council about the final design of the replacement carpark. Public parking will be made available at the adjacent University of Melbourne campus as an interim solution once construction on the new carpark commences.
The latest plans are now available on the Engage Victoria website (engage.vic.gov.au/bills-street-hawthorn-redevelopment). They include artist impressions, site plans, elevations, shadow diagrams, and traffic assessment reports and data.
Enabling works will start at the end of 2021. Construction will commence in 2022.
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