Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (12:26): My question is to the Leader of the Government. Over the pandemic we have obviously seen an increase and a spike in the need for mental health services in Victoria. We have also seen the government’s great commitment to the recommendations from the royal commission into mental health. But the union that represents the mental health workforce tells us that 10 per cent of the workforce is ready to quit. So I ask: what is the government doing to make sure that we do not see this workforce leave in droves, when it is needed at its most?
Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Resources) (12:27): Thank you for your question. I think that it is probably best for me to direct that to the relevant minister, being the Minister for Mental Health. As I have said in this place before, I am more than happy to attempt to answer as many questions as possible. This is an important policy area for the government. I have had conversations, from a local member perspective, in relation to encouraging more people to go into this workforce and ensuring that those that are studying have got better access to placements and the like. So there are a lot of programs and thought going into this area. I know there are a lot of conversations with the union on these matters, but I think a response from the relevant minister would be slightly more beneficial to you
Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (12:28): Thank you, Minister. I was hoping you might have had some information as Leader of the Government, but I appreciate you passing it on to the Minister for Mental Health. By way of supplementary, it has been 850 days since mental health nurses have received any form of pay rise. So could either you or the mental health minister let me know when we will see them get a deserved pay rise?
Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Resources) (12:28): Thank you, Ms Patten. I certainly have not been involved in the negotiations in any capacity. That is not a role that the Leader of the Government in the upper house has any particular responsibility in, and indeed I have not been briefed on the latest in relation to the industrial relations enterprise bargaining negotiations on that matter. But, as indicated, I think your first question would be better directed to Minister Merlino, so I would suggest that they both go to him.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Question without notice