VHA farewells Victoria’s Health and Mental Health Ministers

June 24, 2022

On Friday 24 June, Martin Foley stepped down as Minister for Health, Ambulance Services and Equality, and announced he would not contest the seat of Albert Park at the November state election.

James Merlino also stepped down from his role as Deputy Premier of Victoria, Minister for Education and Minister for Mental Health. James said he, too, would not run for Parliament in November.

The Victorian Healthcare Association wants to thank both Martin and James for their tremendous dedication to Victoria’s health and mental health systems during an extremely challenging period.

The VHA is grateful to both Ministers for working constructively with the VHA to ensure our members’ voices were heard loud and clear over the past two years. Both Ministers acted on much of the VHA’s feedback to ensure public and community health services could remain agile and cope with old, new and emerging difficulties during the pandemic.

The VHA has had many meetings with Martin Foley since he stepped up as Health Minister during the worst public health crisis we have ever seen. Martin gave his all through the most challenging of times and continued to listen to services in their hour of need.

While steering us through a state-wide emergency, he oversaw major new investments in our public hospitals, and continued to fight for our fair share of national funding. He also remained a strong advocate for our unique community health services.

Martin will also be remembered as the Mental Health Minister who established the Royal Commission into Mental Health, which has had a far-reaching impact on Victorians and will continue to for generations to come.

After taking on the role of Mental Health Minister in 2020, James Merlino has shown an incredible level of focus and determination on implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission, culminating in the introduction of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill, a key recommendation of the Royal Commission, into Parliament this week.

The VHA thanks both James Merlino and Martin Foley for their service to Victoria and wishes them and their families all the very best for the future. We look forward to working with the new Ministers for Health and Mental Health when they are appointed in coming days.


Media contact: Julia Medew is on 0402 011 438 or Julia.medew@vha.org.au