National News

Victorian mental health gets $170m boost

Victoria's mental health sector will get more than $170 million in extra support ahead of a royal commission into the sector.

Nearly 60 new hospital and rehabilitation beds will be created at a cost of more than $30 million and community-based treatment for at least 7000 people will be boosted by more than $35 million.

The state government's 2019-20 budget is also funnelling more than $8 million into supporting Aboriginal people with severe mental illness and $3 million to support asylum seekers in the community.

Monday's spend is nowhere near the Andrew Labor government's $705 mental health spend revealed last year, but the latest money is aimed at getting the system ready to implement the recommendations from the upcoming royal commission into the sector, which is receiving $17 million.

About 184,000 Victorians have severe mental illness, while nearly half the state will experience it during their lives.

"We all know and care about someone who has needed mental health support and understand the devastating impact mental illness can have when that support isn't available," Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said.

Other mental health commitments in the Andrews government's fifth budget include nearly $19 million for Victoria's Fixed Threat Assessment Centre and almost $6 million for the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner.

In broader health spending, $1.6 billion will go towards the state's hospitals, including a new Footscray Hospital, as promised in the state election campaign.

There is no new money to support the government's controversial voluntary assisted-dying laws set to come into effect later this year, as it was funded in the last budget.

But more than $70 million will be funnelled into end-of-life care supporting, including a 24/7 help line and palliative care.

© AAP 2019