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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 4659..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

was any advice given on how to handle the friend. They were just told that they would have to wait and provide care until the CAT team arrived. When the CAT team and the police got there, I am told they did a good job and took the friend off to the psychiatric services unit.

But in the rich glow of the Jeff and Simon show we really need to consider the harsh realities. One, it is not much use having a crisis team that takes four hours to turn up in a crisis. Two, given that there are so few police anyway, if the CAT team is relying on them to make call-outs, there are going to be delays, and police work is also going to suffer. Three, given the never-ending PR from Mr Corbell on how much money has been spent on community-based services, I would have thought that there would have been enough staff for the CAT team. Four, it is really inefficient to have a system that responds only to critical incidents, by which time hospitalisation is often the only option. While the incident on Tuesday was occurring, the CAT team, I was told, had eight call-outs. If six of them had ended up with hospitalisation, 20 per cent of the PSU's full bed complement would have been used up in just one evening.

There is no way that an average person, when confronted with someone who is seriously disturbed, can take the disturbed person to hospital if they do not want to go. There is no option but to rely on the CAT service. I have to say that, aware as I am of the shortcomings of Mr Corbell's mental health service, this example has really shocked me. If Mr Corbell really believes that Mental Health ACT is delivering anywhere near the service needed by the community, he really needs to take a long, hard look at himself.

Malaria

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.57): That is a hard one to follow. I rise to respond to Mrs Dunne's adjournment speech last week about the need for DDT to be used to combat malaria by killing the vector, the anopheles mosquito. I must say her talk did seem to be more of an opportunity to have a go at the environment movement and to denigrate the work of Rachel Carson than coming out of a real concern about the deaths from malaria in developing countries.

I went and did some research on the topic because I wanted to know why such a respected and well-informed person as Desmond Tutu was campaigning for its continued use in developing countries. I found out-I guess not surprisingly-that it is a much more complex issue than just using DDT and that the application of DDT is a last resort in countries that do not have the resources to do all the many things that are part of the strategies for getting rid of malaria. The malaria foundation, for instance, advocates an eventual but not immediate ban of DDT because at the moment there are few effective and/or affordable methods available for poor countries and DDT is cheap and effective.

But the way it is used is really important. It has to be kept out of the environment. South Africa has found that spraying DDT in people's houses, especially on thatched roofs, can provide a year's protection. However, it must be kept from water because then it has that impact on wildlife that Carson documented so persuasively. The South African environment minister described the use of DDT, which they see as unfortunately essential, as "a horrible choice we must make for our country". Nonetheless, it has worked to reduce the incidence of malaria in South Africa.


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