Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention - press conference - 8 December 2023

Read the transcript of Assistant Minister McBride's press conference on the opening of three Head to Health Kids hubs in Victoria.

The Hon Emma McBride MP
Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Assistant Minister Rural and Regional Health

Media event date:
Date published:
Media type:
General public

Jayne Nelson, CEO of IPC Health: Good morning everyone, welcome to IPC Health Sunshine campus for the ministerial launch of the children’s health and wellbeing hubs. I’m Jayne Nelson, the CEO of IPC Health, and on behalf of IPC Health I’d like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we meet today. We pay our respects to enders past and present as well as elders of First Nations groups across the country. We recognize their ongoing care of and contention to these lands and waterways, and I extend respects to Aboriginal and Torress Strait Islander people who may be with us today.

I would like to welcome the Honorable Ingrid Stitt, Minister for Mental Health; the Honorable Emma McBride, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; Daryl Whitfort, IPC Health Board Chair; our partners in the Brimbank Melton Children’s Health and Wellbeing Local - of which we are very proud; Associate Professor Michelle Telfer - welcome Michelle - she's the Chief of Medicine at the World Children's Hospital; John Ferraro, Chief Operating Officer of Western Health; and all of the representatives of staff and community members who have joined us today. We're very honored to host today's event and I now invite the Minister for Mental Health, the Honorable Ingrid Stitt to say a few words. Thank you.

Ingid Stitt, Victorian Minister for Mental Health: Thank you very much, Jane. And thank you for that lovely welcome. And I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land that we're meeting on this morning and pay my respects to elder's past and present and acknowledge any First Nations people joining us here today. And I also want to acknowledge and thank the Assistant Federal Minister Emma McBride for coming to Victoria today to help us celebrate a really important milestone in the transformation of Victoria's mental health services. And I'd also like to acknowledge Daniel Mulino, the federal local member here in this area, the member for Fraser. Thank you for coming along today, Daniel. And Sarah Connolly the local state member who was with us just earlier, and also acknowledged the important collaboration that's gone on to get us to where we are today. Not only IPC and the important work that they do in our community, but also our health services, including Western Health and the Royal Children's Hospital.

And so it is an absolute pleasure to be able to be here on the day where we announced three new local hubs for children's health and wellbeing and we'll have three services in the sunshine area Bendigo and Cranbourne. This is a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into the mental health and wellbeing system in Victoria. We know that through so much of the work that we do in the Victorian Government across a range of different services, how important early intervention is. So whether that's through our Maternal Child Health System, through our GP network with the support of the federal government, whether that's through our early childhood education programs, or indeed, these new services that will mean that families and young children under 11 years of age, will be able to get that expert mental health support, wellbeing support close to where they live. We know early intervention is the key to that and so I'm absolutely thrilled with the collaborative model that's been built here at Sunshine and I think it's another example of how we are really looking at different models of care and different ways that we can support particularly children get back onto a pathway of not only recovery, but give them every opportunity to thrive in their early years.

We’re also pretty pleased that these three new services will see significant number of families and we estimate that around 400 families a year will be able to be provided with expert care and support through the three hubs across the state. And of course, I'm very grateful that the federal government has partnered with us in this important initiative and provided over $22 million in funding to roll out these important Children's Health and Wellbeing Hubs. And of course the Victorian Government has provided $41 million in funding and $13 million ongoing. This is so important.

There's nothing more important for any parent to know that their child has the support that they need to be able to thrive. So services like this will really make a huge difference. I know in my own community, this part of Melbourne's in the West. So many families are moving into this area and the population growth is significant. So being able to continue to roll out important recommendations of the Royal Commission into mental health and well being that provide local options for families is just so important. Absolutely thrilled to be able to come along today to celebrate the opening of these three new hubs. And I'd like to thank all of our services who have collaborated so strongly to deliver these important services including, importantly designing their services with those with lived experience so that we make sure that we're providing the care and expert support that families and young children will need to thrive.

And I'll ask the Federal Assistant Minister, Emma McBride, to say a few words now. Thank you.

Emma McBride, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: Thank you, Minister. I'd like to begin also by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and to pay my respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to First Nations people with us today. To the minister, it's such a pleasure to work in such strong collaboration as the Commonwealth and Victoria, to make sure that Victorians especially young people, get the care and support that they deserve. To my colleague and friend Daniel Mulino, the Member for Fraser, thank you so much for advocacy in your community and the work that you're doing. I'd also like to acknowledge anyone here with a lived experience of mental health and thank you for the generous contribution that you made to improving support services and care. And thank you to everyone who has been part of today because it's only through co-design and strong collaboration that we get the services close to home at the right time for people who need them most, and I'm so pleased to join with the Victorian Government today in celebrating the opening of three hubs in Sunshine, in Cranbourne, and in Bendigo.

As mental health challenges grow right around the country, we know that particularly so it does for young people and families. Yet too many Australians continue to struggle to get the support and care they need at the time when they need it. First Nations people, diverse communities, vastly growing populations, people who can least afford it. So we're so pleased at a Commonwealth level to be able to work with the states and territories in a network of national Head to Health Centres, 61 adult centres, 16 Kids Hubs and a combined investment from the commonwealth of more than $530 million and I'm delighted that we're here in Victoria, and in Sunshine, to see the first of these up and running nationally. You call them Locals; we call them Kids Hubs. But I don't think that matters. I think what does matter is our shared commitment and the co-funding to make sure that these services are available to infants, to children's, to their families. And these hubs will deliver a range of services strengthening, as the Minister said, early intervention and prevention for young children and families and importantly, they’re walk in services with no fees and no referral or a diagnosis needed, with highly skilled multidisciplinary teams delivering effective care, and as a former mental health worker, myself and as a pharmacist, talking to one of the speechies today and hear about the strong collaboration in the work that she's doing with a young two year old, he's going to be starting early kinder next year. You can see the real difference it makes to children and families.

So in finishing I would just like to again thank Minister Stitt for the collaborative way that these services have been co-designed and the strong partnership that we have as a commonwealth, and also to IPC Health and the staff delivering care. Your work is incredibly important. We value it, and we'll walk alongside you in boosting the care and support that your communities need. So thank you and congratulations.

Minister Stitt: Happy to take any questions that anybody -

Journalist: How many of these hubs are up and running in Victoria at the moment?

Minister Stitt: We've opened three, one in Sunshine here, another in Cranbourne and Bendigo. So that was the recommendation from the Royal Commission was to create three specialist childhood wellbeing hubs so that families can get access to care close to home. So we're really thrilled that the services are up and running. And that will add important services to what we've already been doing for the adult population through our Locals.

Journalist: Any plans to extend this further to other parts of the city?

Minister Stitt: What the model is for these three is that a number of them will have spokes so for example, this service in sunshine will be a spoken there'll be another location in Caroline Springs once that refurbishment of that building is complete. And Cranbourne similarly will have spokes in Dandenong, for example. So obviously it's important to get the model up and running and providing important services and as the federal Assistant Minister indicated, there's no need for a referral to access these services. And people I imagine come from different types of referrals. So we just met a family this morning who their son was referred by our maternal child health nurse. Others might come through a GP referral, but many families will just walk in off the street to gain that experts support and that's they can do that here. They don't need an official referral from any medical service. So as we continue to roll out the important recommendations of the mental health and royal commission, all 74 of those recommendations will continue to add to transforming our mental health and wellbeing services so that they are fit for purpose and that they're where people need them and when people need them.

Journalist: Are these hubs an Australian first in Victoria or are there similar ones operating elsewhere in Australia?

Minister Stitt: Well, I believe these are the first three have a network that the federal government are investing in. So I'm happy to let the Federal Assistant Minister answer that question for you in respect to other states and territories.

Assistant Minister McBride: I'm absolutely delighted this is this is the first three of a network of kids hubs across Australia. And it is part of our national mental health and wellbeing a national mental health and suicide prevention agreement and the bilaterals with the states and territories and we're so pleased to say that the first three are up and running in Victoria. With more to open, four in New South Wales and a total of 16 across Australia.

We know that young people and families have been particularly impacted by COVID 19 and by other pressures and recent ABS data has shown that there has been a particular impact on younger people. So these early intervention and prevention is the right approach and we're really pleased to be working in such strong collaboration and partnership to be able to provide a more much more integrated and much more expanded service to people and families particularly in growing communities and diverse communities like the one right here.

Journalist: Just another issue, the Mental Health Division has received 16,000 complaints but hasn’t issued any compliance notices yet. Does that show that the watchdog doesn’t have any teeth?

Minister Stitt: Well, we've also been working on transforming the governance arrangements for mental health services in Victoria and from September we stood up the new Mental Health Commission, which replaces the old Complaints Commission. And so that is a very important body that will hold services to account to make sure that consumers rights are upheld and also hold the government to account in terms of our acquittal of the recommendations in the Royal Commission report. So they are in the process right now of building their services. There are four new commissioners that have a variety of experience over many years, including lived experience, and that's one of the reasons why we created that new body was to make sure that we were being responsive to the needs of consumers right across the state.

Journalist: And on the Ken Lay Report, are you any closer to landing on a position for a second injecting room in the CBD? Viewer any possible and even opposition for a second.

Minster Stitt: Look, I've got nothing new to announce this morning. Other than to say that we are of course, considering Ken Lay's important report and the government will have more to say in in coming months,

Journalist: Will it be before the end of the year?

Minister Stitt: Look, I'm not in a position to give any timeframe today but what I can say is that we're obviously considering the report carefully. These are complex issues and we're going to take the time that we need to get that right.

Journalist: Is the government still committed to a second injecting room?

Minister Stitt: Well, obviously we have been working really hard when it comes to providing the alcohol and other drugs services that Victorians need. I would point to our actions in terms of delivering the North Richmond medically supervised injecting room which has demonstrated that that model can save lives and indeed, since that service has been up and running, we've avoided six and a half six and a half thousand overdoses as a result of having a health lead response. So the government is committed to continuing to look at every single way that we can provide a health lead response and support to those who are struggling with opioid addiction. For example, just last week, I announced the expansion of our Naloxone program so that families and carers of people with opioid addiction can have access to that lifesaving drug which reverses the effects of opioid overdose. So we are taking steps and looking at all of the different ways in which we can tackle the scourge of addiction and help people not only recover from that, but get their lives back on track and we're committed to doing that across a range of different services and approaches.

Okay, thank you so much. Well done everyone.

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.