SA Budget 2017 – where was Mental Health?

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SA Budget 2017 – where was Mental Health?

As we expected, other than $5m funding in 2017/18 ($14.7m total allocated across 17/18 and 18/19) to commence the Oakden replacement, there is little in the 2017 budget directly relevant to community mental health. The $5m includes project scoping and developing the model of care according to Michael Cousins from HCA.

There was no detail in the Health budget lines to identify funding to mental health NGOs to deliver community psychosocial supports. Service providers have been verbally assured that funding will continue to 30 June 2018. After seeking clarification, we are able to quote Minister Vlahos –

I want to ensure that South Australia has a strong and accessible National Disability Insurance Scheme.  It is clear that there are concerns that need to be addressed and I will work with the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia to help identify any potential gaps and how to address them.”

While there is no specific mention of mental health in the NDIS Reform budget section, this may be because state funded mental health participants are not expected to transition in the coming financial year.

  • $8.4 million was announced as extra funding for NDIS transition. This appears to be focused on provider readiness and job creation (David Reynolds presentation)
  • Previously announced $2,011,000 funding for the SA Mental Health Commission, with targeted activity –
    • Finalise the launch of the new Mental Health Strategic Plan
    • Lead and coordinate the implementation of the plan and the subsequent series of action plans
    • Conduct stakeholder engagement to inform the development of the first 2 action plans
    • Complete the first 2 in a series of action plans emanating from priorities identified in the SA Mental Health Strategic Plan
    • Improve the visibility of the commission and its work in raising and de-stigmatising mental health in the SA community
    • Complete the evaluation of the SA Mental Health Commission
    • Partner with Government, no-government, private and community sectors to build a whole of government and whole of community approach to strengthening mental health and wellbeing in SA
  • Country Health SA intends to implement a Country Health SA Community Mental Health Model of Care (no dollars specified)
  • SALHN intends to complete the new Jamie Larcombe Centre re-development at Glenside to support the transfer of patients from ward 17 at the Repatriation General Hospital.
  • The Transforming Health sub-project intends to “develop a model of care for specialist mental health services for veterans to provide veterans with evidence based best care” (Veterans Mental Health Precinct total project cost is $15m with $7,465,000 planned for 2017/2018).
  • $1.3m over 4 years to continue statewide gambling therapy services in addition to the PsychMed intensive therapy gambling help service. Funding for this to come from the Gambler’s Rehabilitation Fund (funded from wagering taxes)
  • $600,000 in 2017-2018 for suicide prevention, based on identified priorities in the new Suicide Prevention Plan 2017-2021.
  • DSD have a target in 2017-18 to “increase and diversify the disability sector workforce, by preparing new workers to enter the industry and existing workers to up-skill, in response to the roll-out of NDIS.
    • MHCSA continues to advocate for the inclusion of specialist mental health and peer worker training as part of this target.

The coming year and the next budget will be crucial to the future of mental health in SA. We need to see a range of key issues resolved including:

  • Endorsement of a new SA Mental Health Strategic Plan for SA and commitment to adequate resourcing to implement including funding for the SA Mental Health commission beyond 30 June 2018.
  • No new gaps in psychosocial support as we transition to the NDIS
  • Resolution of longer term contracting arrangements for mental health NGO service providers
  • Working with MHCSA to improve data collection and reporting, growing the lived experience workforce and better access pathways to NGO services.

For any questions about this update, please contact either Geoff Harris at or Shandy Arlidge at

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