What the Royal Commission said  

This recommendation is to replace the current Mental Health Act 2014 with a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act (new Act), by no later than mid-2022.

The new Act will provide the legal foundations for the redesigned mental health and wellbeing system.

The new Act will promote good mental health and wellbeing for Victorians. It will support the delivery of high-quality services and promote and protect human rights.

What are the opportunities?  

The Royal Commission outlined the need to reset and rebalance mental health legislation. Some of the challenges with the current legislation include:

  • aligning the new Act with other relevant laws and human rights frameworks  
  • unclear accountability within the mental health system  
  • a narrow focus for current legislation  
  • a range of factors that hampered implementation including leadership, culture, and resourcing.

What are we doing?  

We are working with a variety of stakeholders to support the development of the new Act. This includes people with lived experience as consumers, carers, and family members, service providers and advocates.

Expert Advisory Group  

A ten-member Expert Advisory Group was established in March 2021. This Group supports the design and delivery of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act. Members bring diverse and significant expertise in many areas. This includes lived experience, human rights, legal and non-legal advocacy, health law, health service governance and clinical mental health and community support service delivery.  

Advisory Group members are:  

  • Mr Michael Gorton AM (Chair), Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers and Board /Chair, Alfred Health  
  • Dr Anoop Lalitha, Director of Clinical Services, Ballarat Health Service  
  • Dr Chris Maylea, Deputy Chair, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Committee of Management  
  • John Foley, Board member, Tandem Carers  
  • Kristen Hilton, former Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner  
  • Laura Collister, CEO, Wellways  
  • Professor Lisa Brophy, La Trobe University, community member, Mental Health Tribunal  
  • Dr Margaret Grigg, CEO, Forensicare  
  • Nerita Waight, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service  
  • Sandra Keppich-Arnold, Director of Mental Health and AOD Operations, Alfred Health

Public consultation  

On 15 June 2021, the Department provided an update on the development of the new Act and an overview of its proposed content in a paper available on the Engage Victoria website. The public engagement period closed on 1 August 2021.

The Royal Commission gave clear direction on many aspects of the new Act. This means the engagement process focused on topics where extra input is required to ensure the Royal Commission’s recommendations are reflected in the new Act and can be effectively implemented in practice.

We thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback. All submissions are being analysed and will inform development of the new Act.