Page 2921 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022
some of those who are most in need in our community to access support and change their lives.
Since the 2019-20 budget, the ACT government has invested more than $32 million in new harm minimisation initiatives, including more than $13 million in new initiatives in this year’s budget. The government is continuing our partnership with Ted Noffs, CatholicCare and Winnunga Nimmityjah to redevelop the Watson health precinct, with $3 million allocated to support site preparation, detailed design and commissioning work, as well as staff, in preparation for a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential rehabilitation facility. This was a key commitment and we are delivering on it.
The government is also working to transition to a residential service at the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm, with funding set aside to commence this work. And we are boosting funding for residential rehabilitation services more broadly—expanding targeted treatment for methamphetamine dependants and funding a new support service for families, carers and children of people who use drugs. These investments build on our track record of investment to support our community partners to reduce harm through evidence-based programs and policies.
The government set out with an ambitious and comprehensive health platform at the start of this term. We are the only ones with a plan that responds to the challenges that COVID-19 presents to our health system. We are the only ones with a plan for our future infrastructure requirements. We are the only ones with a plan that ensures that the most vulnerable in our community are able to access care, and we are the only ones with a plan that supports our healthcare workers to deliver, with state-of-the-art facilities, safe and supportive workplaces and more services closer to home for Canberrans.
Through this budget the Barr government is continuing to deliver on our plan, with record investments, new services, more nurses, more doctors, more midwives and more allied health professionals, and the support that they need. I commend this budget to the Assembly.
MR COCKS (Murrumbidgee) (11.18): I rise as the shadow minister for mental health. I note that I do so, as the minister explained this morning, in the middle of mental health month and mental health week, and in the shadow of World Mental Health Day, which occurred only a couple of days ago.
One of the themes of World Mental Health Day is that mental health matters. Let me say that mental health matters irrespective of whether we are in a special month, week or day. What we see in this budget is a budget that is large on announceables and low on the strategic vision that we need to make sure we have a mental health system that works.
There are deep systemic issues in the ACT’s mental health system that will not be solved by this budget. They will not be solved by adding more complexity, more small programs and neglecting the engagement with the mental health sector and people with lived and living experience of mental health, who I have been hearing about during the months since I was appointed to this role.