The civil and forensic cross-border ministerial agreements with NSW are out of date as they refer to the repealed 1986 Mental Health Act.

Mental health services with cross-border questions should contact the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist at ocp@dhhs.vic.gov.au or on (03) 9096 7571 for specific advice about current cross-border arrangements.

Victoria has three agreements with NSW:

  • Civil and forensic cross-border ministerial agreements setting out the legal framework for the provision of cross-border mental health services between the two states (Both now out of date).
  • The Albury Wodonga Health Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which clarifies some of the legislative and oversight arrangements for mental health services delivered by Albury Wodonga Health.

Civil agreement

The civil cross-border ministerial agreement covers:

  • people seeking mental health treatment over the Victoria–NSW border
  • transfer of compulsory inpatients between Victoria and NSW
  • compulsory mental health treatment for people subject to community orders
  • apprehension and return of compulsory inpatients who are absent without leave in either NSW or Victoria.

The civil cross-border ministerial agreement does not apply to forensic or security patients.

The civil agreement refers to the provisions of the repealed Mental Health Act 1986 (Vic), however the Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) deems the civil agreement to be made under the 2014 Act. 

Forensic agreement

The forensic cross-border ministerial agreement refers to the provisions of the repealed Mental Health Act 1986 (Vic) and the Mental Health Act 1990 (NSW).

Transition provisions in both the Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) and the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW) preserve the currency of the forensic agreement. 

The forensic cross-border ministerial agreement provides for the apprehension and return of forensic, security and certain other patients who are absent without leave in either NSW or Victoria.

Albury Wodonga Health - Mental Health Memorandum of Understanding

Albury Wodonga Health is a public health service under the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic) that delivers cross border health services in North-East Victoria and Southern New South Wales. It operates two hospitals (Albury Hospital and Wodonga Hospital) and delivers a comprehensive range of community mental health services. Inpatient mental health services are located at Wangaratta and Albury.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aims to improve the quality and safety of mental health services provided by Albury Wodonga Health by clarifying some legislative and oversight arrangements.

The MOU was jointly signed by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and NSW Health. It clarifies:

  • legislative requirements for the provision of mental health services by Albury Wodonga Health 
  • policies and guidelines that apply to Albury Wodonga Health’s mental health services
  • communication arrangements
  • handling of complaints 
  • the role of the Victorian Chief Psychiatrist
  • the role of official visitors (NSW)
  • the role of community visitors (Vic) 
  • the role of Accredited Persons (NSW).

The MOU is made in good faith and demonstrates an intention between the parties to work collaboratively to implement the MOU and improve oversight of Albury Wodonga Health’s mental health services.