Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 1 December 2022) . . Page.. 4154 ..
During its time in government, the federal coalition oversaw the expansion of headspace services to reach more areas of the country than ever before, including the opening of the Tuggeranong headspace centre. Sadly, funding to establish new centres is not enough to guarantee the service levels that the community expects and deserves.
Building on Mr Pettersson’s call at paragraph (4)(b) to advocate to the federal government for an additional centre in Gungahlin, I have moved a straightforward amendment to also call for an increase in funding for all ACT headspace centres, to enable them to attract and retain staff. This would ensure that headspace would not only be visible in the north, south and centre of the ACT but that headspace would be adequately equipped and funded.
When I met with staff from headspace earlier this year, I heard a familiar story. The big problem that they face in our city is workforce—finding good people who are willing to work for the rates headspace can afford. Headspace staff face all of the same cost-of-living pressures that every other Canberran faces. This is a more expensive city to operate in, so headspace needs adequate funding to secure the services of those amazing people who serve our community so well.
As with my first amendment, the second that I am proposing is simply a further strengthening of Mr Pettersson’s already strong motion, to require the minister to report to the Assembly on the implementation status of the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs August 2020 report Youth mental health in the ACT. That 2020 report, delivered towards the end of the Ninth Assembly, contains strong analysis of the state of young Canberrans’ mental health, informed by the contributions of over 800 people.
The committee made 66 recommendations which could improve support in the ACT. That report still has relevance now. Earlier this week I met with the parents of a young man who died by suicide, parents who have taken the loss of a deeply loved son and made it their mission to fight for the ACT’s mental health system to be overhauled, parents who have made what seemed to be very reasonable suggestions in line with that inquiry report.
This amendment would enable the government and the minister to reflect on progress to date on mental health and consider whether and what more can be done in response to the inquiry recommendations to serve the young people of Canberra. I commend my amendments to the Assembly.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (3.29): Labor members will be supporting Mr Cocks’s amendments today, but I rise to speak in support of my colleague Mr Pettersson’s motion.
This motion brings together three strands of Mr Pettersson’s ongoing contributions over a number of years in this place: delivering for his electorate of Yerrabi, a focus on the importance of mental health, and supporting improved services and outcomes for young Canberrans. He has an enviable track record in delivering results in this place, which this motion seeks to take further.