Young people with mental health concerns will be able to seek help closer to home after the federal government vowed to establish a satellite headspace service in the municipality.
Last week’s federal budget included $16 million to establish more headspace services around the country, and some of the funding will be used to create a satellite office of the Greensborough headspace in Whittlesea.
Whittlesea mayor Lawrie Cox said the satellite service was a good “first step”, but a permanent service was needed.
According to Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, Whittlesea has a higher than average rate of people aged over 18 years with high or very high psychological distress.
“Statistics show us that the need for youth mental health services is growing along with our population,” Cr Cox said.
“We’re keen to see a dedicated headspace centre be funded in the City of Whittlesea, rather than a satellite service, in the future as there is definitely the need in our community.”
Cr Cox said there is currently a four-week wait for services at headspace in Greensborough, which is the closest service to Whittlesea.
The budget also includes a $1.1 billion suburban roads package which will be used to upgrade roads in the northern and south-eastern suburbs including Childs Road, Mill Park; Epping Road, Epping; Bridge Inn Road, Doreen; and Sunbury Road, Sunbury.
However the state government has already allocated funding to upgrade of all four roads.
It is not known if the federal funding will allow the scope of the projects to be expanded.
Hume council said while funding for Sunbury Road was welcome, it was not enough.
Mayor Carly Moore said the council would continue to lobby for further road upgrades and the delivery of the Bulla bypass.
She said the bypass would address safety and congestion problems in and around Bulla.
As reported by Star Weekly, the government has already committed to spending $50 million to duplicate the Hume Freeway between Lithgow Street and the M80 Ring Road.
Also included in last week’s budget was a commitment to fund kindergartens until the end of 2020.
“While a federal commitment to fund five hours of preschool until 2020 is a step in the right direction, the reality is that it still does not give parents of young children the certainty they need beyond next year,” Cr Moore said.
“Council will continue to work with other councils to advocate to the federal government for a long-term commitment to kindergarten funding.”