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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (17 September) . . Page.. 4271..


(2) Did the ACT Government seek the advice of the Chief Psychiatrist in relation to the proposed development of a nine storey carpark at the Canberra Hospital and anticipated affects on the neighbouring mental health precinct prior to the Minister for Health writing to the Minister for Planning requesting that the proposed carpark development be 'called in'; if so, what was that advice and can a copy of that advice provided.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The design of the Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit (which is adjacent to the carpark) was ongoing at the time of requesting the Minister for Planning to use his 'call in' powers for the carpark Development Application. This design process is still ongoing and the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines are being used to guide this design process, along with the model of care and the siting of the facility itself within the available space. The Australasian Health Facility Guidelines state that:

"All new work should be informed by these Guidelines, but it will not be possible to apply the guidelines in all situations. Individual projects that involve the reuse of existing assets are often compromised by existing space restrictions or other physical limitations ..... The primary objective of the Guidelines is to achieve a desired performance result or service. Prescriptive limitations, when given, such as exact recommended dimensions or quantities, describe a condition commonly recognised as a practical standard for normal operation. Where specific measurements, capacities or other standards are described, equivalent alternative solutions may be deemed acceptable if it is demonstrated that the intent of the standards has been met and the specific service can be safely and appropriately delivered"(10;405).

The emerging design of the Acute Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit is extremely conscious of the benefits of open space, sunlight and aspect for the consumers who will use the facility. To maximise access to outdoor areas, the patient areas of the facility will be on the ground level. The new facility will also include extensive external and internal landscaping, green and treed areas, quiet areas, and courtyards.

The facility will be situated to have an outlook towards the three more open view sides of the site, and away from the nearby multi-storey car park. The façade of the multi-storey car park will be designed to make viewing out very difficult. The façade will be perforated to allow natural ventilation, however the size and spacing of the perforations will mean the view from the car park will be very 'pixilated'. This will provide the new Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit with the required privacy.

(2) The Chief Psychiatrist provided advice into the development of the proposed multi-storey carpark and the Acute Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit through her involvement in development workshops and value management reviews for the Capital Asset Development Plan Stage 2. These workshops occurred prior to the Minister for Health writing to the Minister for Planning to request the Development Application for the new carpark be "called-in". She raised no objection to either development. This advice was provided in a workshop environment not as formal written advice.


In addition, there has, and continues to be, considerable input from Mental Health ACT staff and mental health carers and consumers into both the design of the carpark and the design of the Acute Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit. This is evidenced by


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