I have a few mates who happen to be mental health nurses. We have never needed their support more than we do right now. It was reported only this week that one in four young Australians thought about suicide over the past two years. When they talk, we should listen. Our healthcare nurses are underappreciated, understaffed, underpaid and overworked. They have been trying to resolve an enterprise bargaining agreement issue. Department executives have had this EBA document since last November. The same executives took six weeks off over Christmas, so negotiations and deliberations were put on hold. Everything can stop for the executives, but the Victorian mental health nurses do not have this luxury; they must continue working. This is a matter of fairness.
I am also glad to see that just days after Health and Community Services Union members across the state took industrial action not only had the agreement been drafted but it was approved by government lawyers over the weekend. The EBA is now sitting with the Department of Health for final approval; however, it should not come to a stop-work meeting to get these issues resolved. This is a fantastic, long-awaited outcome for our mental health workforce, who have been extremely patient. I congratulate them on their solidarity and their persistence.