VHA welcomes strong investment into Victoria’s health

May 27, 2019

The VHA has welcomed the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to funding school dental vans and growth in Victorian public hospitals as part of the 2019-2020 State Budget.

The Victorian Healthcare Association’s Chief Executive, Tom Symondson, said while the $780m commitment to fund growth in 2019-2020 is important for the state’s public hospitals, the commitment to fund this over two years is unprecedented.  

‘The fact that we have seen an increase in growth funding is important in itself but we are particularly pleased that funding has been committed for the following year, which offers greater certainty and enables our public hospitals to plan.’ 

Mr Symondson also welcomed the funding of key election commitments, including dental, which aligned with the VHA’s recommendations on behalf of members.

‘Poor oral health has a major knock-on impact on a person’s overall health and wellbeing, and so generous funding for the roll-out of the school dental van program will make a major impact to the state’s children and will also free up public dental funding for adults; as a preventative measure, this is a courageous investment into the future health of Victorians and will, in years to come, pay dividends for health system demand,’ he said.

The state’s rural health services will benefit from continued investment in the Rural Health Infrastructure Fund with $50m allocated per year over two years, with public sector residential aged services benefiting from a $10m allocation in the first year of the program.

In addition to the two-year investment in community-based mental health announced prior to November’s State Election, this Budget has seen an investment of $173 million into mental health over a two-year period while the Royal Commission into Mental Health carries out its important work.

Mr Symondson said that while there have been major investments in dental and mental health, increased investment in the state’s community health services is missing from an otherwise strong budget for health.

‘The VHA is disappointed at the absence of significant increases in community health funding; these services support some of the state’s most vulnerable people. We have welcomed the establishment of the Community Health Taskforce and very much hope that the taskforce’s recommendations will lead to significant investments in this vital area in future budgets.’

The Budget, the fifth of the Andrews Labor Government, includes $3.8 billion for health infrastructure projects including $1.43 billion for the Footscray Hospital and $6 million to plan for Frankston Hospital. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Mr Symondson, contact:

 Zhoe Jess, Media and Communications Manager, on 0400 952 120 or at zhoe.jess@vha.org.au