The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System final report was released in March 2021. The report contains 65 recommendations, in addition to nine recommendations from the Royal Commission’s interim report. Its recommendations set out a 10-year reform vision for creating a balanced, flexible and responsive system. The Victorian Government has committed to implementing all recommendations. 

As part of these recommendations, the Royal Commission recommended that the Victorian Government repeal the Mental Health Act 2014 and enact a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act.

The new Act will:

  • promote good mental health and wellbeing for all people in Victoria
  • reset the legislative foundations for the mental health and wellbeing system
  • support the delivery of services that are responsive to the needs and preferences of Victorians
  • put the views, preferences and values of people living with mental illness or psychological distress, families, carers and supporters at the forefront of service design and delivery.

The Royal Commission has recommended that Mental Health and Wellbeing Act be passed no later than mid-2022.

Expert Advisory Group

An Expert Advisory Group has been established by the Department of Health to support the design and delivery of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act. Ten experts from diverse backgrounds have been appointed to the Advisory Group.

The group is providing advice, expertise and support to the Department of Health, ensuring the Royal Commission’s recommendations drive and underpin design of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act and inform all aspects of its implementation.

Advisory Group members are:

  • Mr Michael Gorton AM (Chair), Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers and Board /Chair, Alfred Health
  • Dr Anoop Lalitha, Director of Clinical Services, Ballarat Health Services
  • Dr Chris Maylea, Deputy Chair, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Committee of Management
  • John Foley, Board member, Tandem Carers
  • Kristen Hilton, former Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner
  • Laura Collister, CEO, Wellways
  • Professor Lisa Brophy, La Trobe University, community member, Mental Health Tribunal
  • Dr Margaret Grigg, CEO, Forensicare
  • Nerita Waight, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
  • Sandra Keppich-Arnold, Director of Mental Health and AOD Operations, Alfred Health

Members bring diverse and significant expertise across multiple domains, incorporating lived experience, human rights, legal and non-legal advocacy, health law, health service governance and clinical mental health and community support service delivery. 

Public engagement

In June 2021, the Department of Health provided an update on the development of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act and an overview of its proposed content in a paper available on the Engage Victoria website. The public engagement period closed on 1 August 2021.

There are many aspects of the new Act that are already clear from the detailed policy directions given by the Royal Commission in its recommendations and report. The paper sought feedback on topics where additional input was required to ensure the Royal Commission’s directions were appropriately reflected in the new Act and could be effectively implemented in practice.

The new Act is just one part of the work to deliver on the Royal Commission’s recommendations. The department will engage directly with stakeholders to facilitate collaboration and ensure the views of those with lived experience, carers, families and the expertise of the mental health workforce underpin all aspects of the Royal Commission’s reforms. Further information on implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations is available on Mental health reform.