Media release: 2024 Budget response

Investment in community mental health remains well below unmet need

The Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition expresses their dismay that the Northern Territory and Federal budgets do not contain any new investment in mental health and wellbeing for Territorians. The budget contains a range of measures that are a part of the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the NT government that were announced previously. These are important steps to fill the many gaps in our system, however investment in mental health remains well below the unmet need.  

“Without new investment, Territorians remain isolated with limited accessible options for support and their mental health continues to deteriorate” says NT Mental Health Coalition Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Radford. “Often people end up in emergency departments distressed and in crisis when their deteriorating mental health could have been safely dealt within the community. Funding needs to be targeted at supporting people experiencing mental health challenges before their condition deteriorates further”.  

Too many Territorians with severe mental ill health are missing out on the supports they need, because they are ineligible for the NDIS. NT Mental Health Coalition is calling on the Labor governments at both the Territory and Commonwealth level to work together to urgently fund our sector to provide culturally safe psychosocial supports that give people the wrap around care they need before they become acutely unwell.  

Investing in these reforms generates significant savings to the governments and benefits families. It reduces pressure on the healthcare system and the NDIS”.  

The social services and wellbeing sector is the largest employer in the Territory. While there are NT budget measures to attract, retain and upskill the workforce they are not specific to our sector. If we used this investment to train more of the workforce in mental health literacy, we would destigmatise mental health and help more people to start their journey of recovery.  

In her time as Chief Minister, Eva Lawler has consistently said she wants to “Get all Territorians working”. In response, Geoff says “more Territorians will be able to work when they have their basic needs met such as suitable housing, food security, have healthy relationships free from violence and are supported to manage their mental health”.  


Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition is the peak body for community managed mental health services across the Northern Territory. We work in collaboration with a wide network of organisations, people with lived experience, their families and supports to advocate to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Territorians.  

Please follow the Mindframe guidelines when reporting on mental health, suicide and alcohol and other drugs to reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking behaviour.  

Media contact

Geoff Radford
CEO Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition

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