“Before the election, Baillieu promised to fix the problems but since then things have got worse,” Health and Community Services Union state secretary Lloyd Williams said.
“We are here today to work for a fair outcome for pay and conditions.
“We have trouble recruiting staff now, so we need additional staff resources to steady the service in this state.”
More than 30 psychiatric nurses and clinicians donned orange t-shirts with WTF? on them (Where’s the Funding?) and waved banners at passing motorists outside Nationals state member Damian Drum’s office in Barnard Street.
Negotiations for a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement have been underway for seven months, with the union now putting a two-week deadline on an outcome before increasing industrial action.
“It’s the last roll of the dice,” Mr Williams said.
“Most rural services are struggling and the demand (for mental health services) is increasing but funding is not even keeping up with inflation.”
Mr Drum said the existing Psychiatric Services EBA expired on 1 November 2011 and negotiations were proceeding consistent with the government’s wages policy.
“The Coalition Government highly respects and values the critical role of the entire public mental health workforce,” he said.
“We want to reach a new agreement as soon as possible to ensure all Victorians with a mental illness can access timely, high quality care and support.”