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Vic finds $41m for mental health job boost

Victoria will spend $41 million to boost its mental healthcare workforce by more than 350 positions as part of a major upgrade for the sector.

The “once-in-a-generation” deployment is a key recommendation of the state’s mental health royal commission, which delivered its findings in February.

Acting Premier James Merlino says the Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy 2021-2024 will ensure world-class care, with clinicians who feel rewarded and supported in their work.

Four key priorities have been identified: increasing workforce supply; improving skills, knowledge and capabilities; supporting safety, wellbeing and retention; and supporting better planning and sustainability.

The strategy is being delivered alongside an immediate investment of $41 million to support 358 full-time equivalent jobs across the mental health system.

“While we build the mental health facilities our state needs, we’re investing in our most precious asset: the workers who care for Victorians around the clock,” Mr Merlino said on Sunday.

“This plan means more than 350 workers to help those who need it right now and a pipeline of thousands more in the coming years.”

“There’s never been a better time to consider a career in mental health – we’re growing our system in every corner of the state, and we need hundreds of Victorians to join the sector at every level.”

The investment builds on $228 million put aside in the last Victorian budget for 580 positions for nurses and allied health roles.

The royal commission also recommended an increase of 60 allied health graduates.

Mr Merlino said the government would go beyond, providing for an extra 132 graduate occupational therapists, social workers and psychology registrars to begin work in January.

Thirty per cent of them will be located in regional Victoria.

Eighteen clinical educator roles will also be created so graduates are supported to develop and grow as they begin their careers.

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