WA Budget: increase in mental health spending for 2016-17

THE State Government has pledged to deliver $865.8 million to the Mental Health Commission in this week’s State Budget.

That figure is the Commission’s budget for the 2016-17 financial year and represents an increase of $14.7m on last year’s figure.

The $865.8m is an 83.9 per cent funding increase since 2008-09.

Premier Colin Barnett said the move reflected a better understanding of mental illness.

“Despite the constrained fiscal circumstances, we have prioritised areas of social need,” Mr Barnett said.

He said the funding would help ensure crucial fixtures, like alcohol and drug counselling services and mental health treatment, continued to receive strong government support.

Mr Barnett made the announcement at the opening of the Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS) State Conference last Wednesday.

There will also be increased mental health beds for youth at Perth Children’s Hospital and Fiona Stanley, doubling the number of such places since 2008.

The announcement spruiked closer ties between government and the not-for-profit sector.

Government contracts with the sector increased from $1.43 billion in 2014-15 to $1.65b in 2015-16.

It was also announced that the Disability Services Commission budget for 2016-17 will be $944.9m, which includes $231.5m from the Federal Government and other sources.

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support’s budget will be $640.2m in 2016-17.