Build better mental health services, not second injecting room

New and expanded mental health services should be housed in the State Government’s $40 million Yooralla building on Flinders Street in the Melbourne CBD – not a second injecting room.

More and more Victorians are struggling with their mental health as a result of Victoria’s four lockdowns.

Victorians are waiting longer than ever for a mental health bed, there’s increasing rates of self-harm among young Victorians and the mental and physical stress of constant uncertainty and lockdown continues to take its toll on us all.

The Liberal Nationals believe that better supporting the mental wellbeing of Victorians must be the immediate priority, particularly at a time when the Labor Government still hasn’t got its first injecting room right.

Our plan to establish mental health services at the Yooralla site is in line with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Mental Health which endorse more adult and youth bed-based mental health and wellbeing facilities, mental health safe places, and other place-based mental health services and supports.

The Police Association, Flinders Street small business owners and Melbourne City councillors have very serious concerns with the Labor Government’s secretive injecting room plans for the Yooralla site.

Victorians deserve the truth. We deserve transparency.

Despite all their talk of significant mental health investment, the Andrews Labor Government has been slow to enact the mental health reform that Victorians so desperately need, and will not fund a single additional clinical or community health bed in the Budget.

Instead of a secret push for more injecting rooms in the wrong locations, a Liberal Nationals Government will put the mental health needs of all Victorians first.

Labor has also failed to listen to the concerns of the Richmond community and of the traders and residents on Flinders Street and neighbouring Degraves Street who are alarmed about the damage an injecting room in their neighbourhood would cause for their businesses, amenity and tourism.

Victorians need better access to mental health services now.

The Liberal Nationals’ plan will set us on the path to reform, while ensuring Flinders Street businesses and residents will not suffer the same destruction that has occurred in the Richmond community.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien:

“Labor has exposed school children and local residents to crime and anti-social behaviour with its poorly-managed Richmond injecting room model and now they want to do the same in Flinders Street.

“This is a secretive Government that’s making decisions on the run with no thought of the impact on families, small businesses, tourism or the community.

“Only the Liberal Nationals have a plan that puts the mental health of all Victorians first. That will boost critical services, but not at the cost of nearby small businesses and tourism hubs which have already been slammed by Labor’s four lockdowns.

“I want to invest in supporting mental health and get people off drugs, not make it easier for people to take illicit drugs.

“It’s time to stop talking about fixing Victoria’s mental health crisis and to actually get on and do it. This is exactly what our plan will do.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy:

“Our state’s mental health crisis is only getting worse under Labor, with presentations for self-harm, anxiety and depression and eating disorders soaring – even for our youngest Victorians.

“Tragically, the suicide rate appears likely to surpass the 2019 rate, when our state recorded its highest number of suicide deaths. 

“We must urgently act to address these harrowing statistics.

“Our plan for a mental health support service in Flinders Street will save lives and change lives by taking a crucial step towards the mental health reform our state is crying out for.”

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