The ANMF (Vic Branch) is pleased to report that the new Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill was passed in parliament on 18 August 2022, and will come into effect no later than Thursday 1 September 2023.
The new Act, consistent with Royal Commission recommendation 42, is designed to:
- promote good mental health and wellbeing for all Victorians
- reset the legislative foundations for the mental health and wellbeing system
- support the delivery of services that are responsive to the needs and preferences of Victorians.
The initial draft of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill left ANMF with several concerns – specifically around the right of our members to be safe at work. We are pleased that the new Act was ultimately passed with an amendment from the Reason Party’s Fiona Patten MP that addressed our concerns.
Ms Patten’s amendment ensures the inclusion of an occupational health and safety (OHS) committee in the Act, to have oversight of workplace safety and workload management issues. This was a recommendation in the Branch’s 2021 submission to the Health Department.
This committee will include ANMF, Worksafe and other stakeholders in its membership, ensuring that OHS issues such as occupational violence and workload management are considered throughout implementation and operation of the Act.
The new Act will guide the mental health sector for the next five to seven years, at which time a review will take place to ensure the new system is supporting Victorians and the mental health workforce as best it can.