The Victoria Government’s commitment to provide extra funding for maternal and child health (MCH) services has been welcomed by the Victoria’s Interface Councils group (IFC).
The IFC represents 10 outer suburban Councils including Melbourne’ seven growth area Councils – Casey, Cardinia, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham – home to many of Melbourne’s newest families.
In October 2021, IFC published the Maternal and Child Health Issues Paper which outlined a series of pressing issues facing the current MCH system that directly impact on its delivery and compromise the level of service and care.
These issues were further highlighted to representatives of the major parties during Interface Week 2022.
Labor’s $69 million MCH announcement includes elements that were specifically canvassed as part of the advocacy undertaken by the IFC.
We are particularly pleased to see funding for free consultations increase from 6.45 to 8 hours per child. This funding will ensure that new parents can spend more time at each consultation with a nurse, while nurses will be able to explore more complex family issues and complete key assessments and legal requirements within the consultation.
The IFC notes that there are still several weeks of campaigning remaining prior to the State Election. We will welcome further announcements – from all parties – that help address the MCH labour force challenges Councils face in employing an existing ageing workforce that is nearing retirement and a younger workforce that is more likely to work part time and across multiple locations.
Other initiatives still being pursued by the IFC include the creation of nurse educators and the further development of a multidisciplinary workforce to provide additional critical support for vulnerable and at-risk children before they may come to the attention of other service systems.
Melbourne’s outer areas continue to grow at a record pace. Keeping up with demands for services and infrastructure remains the greatest challenge for Interface Councils.
This commitment from the Andrews Labor Government is a welcome acknowledgement that the needs of our communities are being recognised and prioritised.