Investing in headspace Plus


A Shorten Labor Government will invest almost $200 million in headspace Plus – improving youth mental health services and ensuring young Australians don’t fall through the cracks in Australia’s mental health system


A Shorten Labor Government will ensure young Australians aren’t falling through the cracks of Australia’s mental health system, by investing almost $200 million in headspace Plus – improving services for young people with moderate to complex needs.

More needs to be done to help young people who need more mental health support than they would get at the GP or their local headspace centre, but who aren’t at the stage where they need hospitalisation.

These services are often referred to as the ‘missing middle’ in our mental health system.

The headspace Plus proposal is designed to fill this gap – as a central hub of community -based mental health care for young people aged between 12 and 25 with moderate to complex mental ill health.

Young people will be able to access up to 20 additional Medicare funded Better Access sessions and have access to staff including GPs, mental health nurses, psychiatrists and addiction specialists.

Labor will:

  • Invest $144 million over four years to trial three metropolitan headspace Plus sites – in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
  • Invest $36 million over four years to trial a regional headspace Plus site in Tasmania.
  • Provide $14 million over four years for Orygen to provide central implementation support, technical guidance, research and evaluation and $3 million for an independent evaluation.

GPs and existing headspace services do excellent work but are not designed to cater for young people who have more complex needs but who are not unwell enough to go into hospital.

Labor will deliver headspace Plus through Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and in partnership with relevant states and territories, recognising the role they play in the provision of community-based services.

A Shorten Labor Government will work with all tiers of government to reduce fragmentation and gaps in mental health services.

There has been much progress in recent years reducing stigma and ensuring young people with mental health issues get the support they need, but there is still much more to do.

The latest Mission Australia Annual Youth Survey once again showed that mental health is the top concern of young people – doubling in importance in the past three years.

This investment builds on Labor’s commitment to expand the reach of the existing headspace model across Australia. Labor will invest an extra $35 million to deliver more early intervention mental health services for young people aged 12 to 25 and ensure that when young people ask for help, services are available and accessible.

Labor will also invest $29.6 million to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide and poor mental health, to be provided through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in highly vulnerable communities.

There is a real choice at the upcoming election between Labor’s plan for properly funded hospitals and the best health care system in the world, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.

We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.


For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978