$14.5 million boost for community and mental health services

The McGowan Government has delivered almost $15 million in funding increases and extended contracts for 12 months to ensure the continuation of important community and mental health services through the COVID-19 recovery.

Contracts for eligible providers have been extended to June 30 next year to ensure critical and in-demand community services continue to support vulnerable Western Australians through the State’s COVID-19 recovery and support jobs in the female-dominated sector.

The $14.5 million funding boost for eligible contracts will assist with the sustainability of services and the impact of increases in award salary rates under the 2012 Fair Work Australia Equal Remuneration Order (ERO).

It comes in addition to the $82 million in supplementation funding that the McGowan Government rolled out from 2019-2020 to support the sustainability of contracts awarded prior to the ERO.

The new funding for the sector comprises $9 million for eligible community services providers and $5.5 million for eligible mental health and alcohol and other drug service providers.

More than 100 eligible community services contracts funded through the Department of Communities will share $9 million in additional funding, including child sexual abuse, family and domestic violence, homelessness, foster care and out-of-home care support services.

The Mental Health Commission has been allocated an extra $5.5 million in 2021-22, which will support 51 eligible contracts being delivered to Western Australians by mental health, alcohol and other drug service providers across the State.

The approved funding represents a 10 per cent increase on the 2020-21 annual level for each provider.

“The State Government is committed to supporting vulnerable Western Australians through critical community service organisations throughout the COVID-19 recovery period.

“This $14.5 million funding boost and the one-year contract extensions provide certainty for the sector while agencies and the Department of Finance work to develop longer-term plans under the Delivering Community Services in Partnership Policy.

“This funding boost is in addition to $82 million in supplementation funding this Government commenced rolling out in 2019-20 to support the sustainability of contracts awarded prior to the ERO.” said Minister for Finance Tony Buti.

“The community services sector delivers important services to our State’s most vulnerable individuals, families and communities and contributes significantly to community wellbeing, economic growth and employment.

“The McGowan Government recognises the importance of the community services sector and has extended contracts due to expire in 2020-21 into 2021-22.

“The sector is a valued partner in the delivery of services for vulnerable Western Australians, and we are listening to service providers about wage pressures resulting from the 2012 Fair Work Australia Equal Remuneration Order.” said Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk.

“Community providers in the mental health and alcohol and drug sector work extremely hard and I thank them for everything that they do.

“Now, more than ever, during the COVID-19 recovery, it is essential that these services can continue to support vulnerable Western Australians.

“Each year, one in every five Australians experience a mental health issue, which is one reason why the McGowan Government is committed to keeping our community service sector strong.” said Minister for Mental Health Stephen Dawson.