Billion-dollar Vic Budget boost will increase access to justice
1st May 2018
A major funding increase for mental health services and the justice system, announced in today’s Budget, will help to support some of the most vulnerable members of our society, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.
The Andrews government today revealed a billion-dollar funding boost for the social justice sector, including more than $700m for treating mental health and addiction, more than $250m for the justice system and more than $110m to support indigenous self-determination.
ALA Victoria acting-President Geraldine Collins said the additional funding would be welcome news for all Victorians.
“The significant increases to funding for justice and mental health care announced today by the Andrews government are a big win for all Victorians,” Ms Collins said.
“Investing an additional $257m into the justice system will help to fund extra judicial officers and will also improve support to victims of crime.”
“It is imperative that anyone using the court systems can obtain speedy access to justice, whether for civil or criminal proceedings,” Ms Collins said.
“Of special note is the four-year $37.3m increase in funding for Victoria Legal Aid, which will make a huge difference to people in need.”
“In addition, the Andrews government’s commitment of an extra $705m specifically for mental health and addiction targets an area of justice which sorely needs attention.”
“The ALA supports this funding boost to help address the dreadful crisis in mental health services in Victoria. It offers support to some of the most vulnerable people in society,” Ms Collins said.
Ms Collins said the government’s commitment to spend $941m to improve regional road networks would not only assist local economic development but would also reduce the number and severity of road accident victims.
“A disproportionate number of road accidents, resulting in serious injuries and deaths, occur on regional and rural roads,” Ms Collins said. “This funding commitment will help reduce accidents and improve safety for all Victorian road users.”
.Ms Collins said the ALA also supported the Andrews government’s intention to spend $116m to support indigenous self-determination and improve the lives of indigenous peoples across Victoria.
“This is a progressive way forward in terms of recognising indigenous culture and improving the lives of the first nation peoples” Ms Collins said.
The budget commitments in detail:
- A budget boost of $705m specifically targeting mental health and addition. This will be used to:
- create six new emergency department crisis hubs which will see removal of patients with serious mental health and / or addiction crisis taken out of the ED and into specialist units,
- development of six new Hospital Outreach Post Suicidal Engagement sites to assist in seeking to prevent the 624 suicides and provide support to an additional 3,000 Victorians,
- expanding the Mental Health & Complex Needs Initiative to assist more people experiencing a mental health crisis which includes a new treatment scheme,
- construction of three new 30 bed residential treatment facilities
- intensive community mental health services,
- boost support in Preventative & Residential Care units.
- $941m allocated to improvements to regional road networks
- $257.4m into the justice system, including a four year increase of funding to Victoria Legal Aid of $37.3m
- $116m to support indigenous self-determination and improve lives of indigenous peoples across Victoria