A $25 million fund for student mental health announced in July 2020 is yet to spend a cent.
The zero-spend came after the Government cancelled a tender process and amid news it is set to spend tens of millions less than planned on its new frontline mental health service.
The Ministry of Health has blamed the wider under-spend on Covid-19, but the $25m was allocated in the midst of Covid-19 and explicitly sold as helping students through the pandemic.
This is example #24,638 of the Government being great at announcing things but crap at delivering them.
This is not reocket science.
A competent Minister should have competent staff who keep track of all the major announcements and say once a month make sure there is a status report as to progress.
The same goes with Covid-19. If you announce all frontline staff are being vaccinated every fortnight, then the Minister should be getting at least fortnightly reports on this.
This mental health fund was sold explicitly as helping people through Covid-19. Yet ten months later they’ve done nothing.
It’s understood there has been some disagreement between the Ministries of Health and Education over who was responsible for administering the money.
Again, this is what you have Ministers for. If bureaucrats are not making progress, the job of the Minister is to apply a blowtorch and make decisions. The relevant Ministers could have made a call six months ago about which agency should administer it.