With Victorians in their sixth lockdown, we are seeing that almost everyone is struggling to various degrees with their mental health. The Victorian Government have declared this a priority and the 2021-22 State Budget invests a record $3.8 billion in mental health and wellbeing. Despite this unprecedented investment, Victoria’s mental health workforces including mental health nurses, social workers, peer workers, lived experience workers, occupational therapists and administrative staff have been denied a pay rise for over two years.
Rod Barton MP believes providing the workforces in the mental health sector with fair workloads, safety measures, conditions, pay and protections will underpin the success of the government’s mental health and wellbeing measures.
The Victorian Government put forward an offer on Tuesday 3rd of August, only a day before a planned state-wide stop work action. This offer was nowhere near what is needed in the sector.
Our mental health workforces are frontline healthcare workers, yet this offer would leave them worse off than their colleagues in general nursing, occupational therapy and social work. This proposal does not alleviate the pressure our essential workforces in the mental health sector are experiencing.
This is the time for the government to be compassionate and support those who have been supporting us through this difficult time.
Victoria was already in the midst of a mental health crisis that has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Barton believes we are so fortunate as a community to have mental health nurses and allied mental health workforces willing to work on the front line to support our most vulnerable.
It is time the government starts treating our workers in the mental health sector with kindness and fairness, providing the mental health workforces with a safe and supportive working environment.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
“I am deeply concerned by the lack of compassion for mental health workforces. These frontline workers are more important than ever and we must provide them with a safe working environment.”
“The proposal put forward by the government undervalues workers in our mental health sector. We are experiencing a mental health crisis and should be enabling those who are passionate in this field to earn a fair wage and support our community.”
Media contact: Norm Dunn, Chief of Staff Rod Barton MP, 0438 175 113 Norm.firstname.lastname@example.org