2023 Federal Budget Summary


Mental Health Australia welcomes the Albanese Government’s focus on supporting the community to meet spiraling cost of living expenses and increasing the base rate for Job Seeker payments. Our financial security is intrinsically linked to mental health.

Beginning the process of Medicare reform and funding to boost access to bulk billing will start to improve primary care,  through which we know many people will seek assistance for their mental health. Bolstering the aged care sector and improving childcare support provisions are also much needed investments. 

We also welcome the budget’s focus on responding to some of the urgent service gaps in our mental health system, and reaching those community members who are in greatest need – including funding $260.2 million over two years for psychosocial support for people with severe mental illness, who are not eligible for NDIS, and $136.0 million over 4 years from 2023–24 and $36.0 million ongoing to deliver better mental health support for survivors of torture and trauma and other culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The Government has also started to invest in building the pipeline of the mental health workforce, including a $91.3 million package to increase the psychology workforce and $17.8 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to upskill the broader workforce.  Missing however is funding to strengthen the broader mental health workforce with a specific focus on peer workers, and a genuine, long-term, funded roadmap for reform.

We also support the continued funding to support the National Workplace Initiative that supports creating mentally healthy workplaces with $2.1 million in 2023–24 and the $10.5M to support the mental health of First Nations people in the lead up to, during, and following the referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Constitution.

Notably missing from the Budget is the Government’s response to the Better Access evaluation, which showed that we need to both improve access to services for people with more complex mental health conditions, while also improving equity across the entire mental health system. While the budget papers note that future funding has been provisioned for this response, Mental Health Australia urges the Government to act both quickly and comprehensively, and work with the sector and communities to co-design a more equitable, integrated and community-focused mental health system.

Of course, like all budgets, the devil is in the detail, and over the coming days we look forward to reviewing the budget papers in detail to try and identify which existing mental health funding is offsetting new investments, and determine what impact this will have on the community and the mental health sector.


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