The Victorian government says a new deal will see 800 jobs added to the state’s public mental health services. 

The Victorian Government has reached an in-principle agreement on pay and conditions for public sector mental health workers.

A new enterprise agreement is aimed at addressing recruitment and retention gaps identified by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. It also includes initiatives to promote gender equity among the workforce.

The state says the agreement will ensure a further 800 full time equivalent jobs will be added over the next four years, and up to $3 million for extra staffing in Secure Extended Care Units and Aged services.

Mental health nurses will receive a two per cent wage increase each year for the first three years, in line with Government wages policy – plus a 1.5 per cent rise in year four.

For all other employees in the sector, there will be an additional increase and retention payments to help with staff retention in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

In regard to gender equity, the new deal includes an additional four weeks parental leave for the primary carer and one week for the non-primary carer, superannuation paid on all forms of parental leave and access to compassionate leave for those who lose a pregnancy under 20 weeks’ gestation.
Victoria’s Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) has been negotiating on behalf of its members on a new deal for the past two years. 

HACSU says that this month, 84 per cent of members voted yes to move forward with the Victorian Government’s latest offer regarding the Victorian Public Mental Health Enterprise Agreement. 

Protected Action has been suspended until the end of November, while the Union and the Victorian Hospitals' Industrial Association finalise the wording of the agreement.