Page 404 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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MR GENTLEMAN: I refer to the term “ecologically sustainable development” that has been included as a fundamental feature in the object of the draft bill. It refers to the planning system ensuring that environmentally sustainable considerations are at the forefront of the planning system. The expanded decision-making criteria for development assessments mean that our assessors will be able to take a broader look at the environmental outcomes of a proposal in making a decision.

The draft bill also proposes to remove the EIS exemption process so that every proposal triggering this threshold will require a scoping document. We can deliver these environmental outcomes while also growing jobs. The greater certainty of process that is included in the draft bill will provide greater investment certainty, attracting jobs and businesses to Canberra. The outcomes-focused criteria and expanded decision-making criteria will allow development assessors greater ability to protect our commercial and industrial land for business investment.

Health—mental health

MR DAVIS: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Minister, tomorrow will mark two years since the ACT entered our first lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reflecting on the difficulty of the last two years for the mental health of people in our city, could you please outline the work the government has done to support the mental health of the community as we continually readjust to changing circumstances?

MS DAVIDSON: Thank you for the question. It is important to recognise that—with the additional economic and workload pressures on people, as well as the worries about public health and what that might mean for individuals who may also have other underlying health conditions that they are worried about—this does take a really big toll on people’s mental health and wellbeing. It is perfectly normal for people to be feeling anxious, worried, exhausted, burnt out or any of those things, based on what they have experienced over the last two years, but there are a whole range of community mental health services that can help them at an early stage before things reach crisis point.

The ACT government has committed additional funding to mental health services, both during the August to October lockdown last year and in 2020. We have also committed significant additional funding to mental health services in the most recent budget. A range of these services are available to people all over Canberra and of all ages, but we particularly recognise that there are some people for whom these impacts will be felt most acutely, and that includes people who had pre-existing mental health conditions, young people, people in our multicultural communities as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, seniors and people with disability. So we are doing everything that we can to try and make sure that there are plenty of services available to people at an early intervention stage and in their local communities.

MR DAVIS: Minister what particular supports have been made available to my constituents in Tuggeranong?

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