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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 905..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

the community and help people in their transition from intensive support services to re-integration into the community.

I will also take a moment to respond to some of the comments made by the Minister for Health during this debate. Although he recognised that more mental health outreach workers were required, he quibbled with the wording of my motion, stating that it was not specific enough. He said that it was not clear whether I wanted new workers to be engaged by the government or by community organisations. He also said that I was not clear on whether the workers should be registered psychologists or people with relevant work experience.

In response to that, I simply say that any additional resources would help. The government gets more services for its dollar by funding NGOs to engage workers because people in the community sector are, as we know, paid much less than those in the public service. Although trained psychologists presumably have relevant and useful skills, people with counselling and support skills developed on the job are unquestionably able to make a difference to people's lives.

There seems to be bit of confusion about how we present motions for calling on the government to undertake something. If we are too specific, we are providing too much detail and limiting the executive in their ability to do their jobs. If we do not provide enough information, then we are not being clear enough in what it is we want. Hopefully, we can find a balance in this so that we can all just agree on the issues at the core and get on to implementing them as part of public policy.

And as I have said, as few as three or four additional workers attached to non-government organisations-who have relevant work experience but not necessarily any psychology qualifications-would make a significant difference to unmet demand and could cost as little as $200,000 to $250,000. I suspect that, if I had put forward a very specific proposal for the employment of these workers, the minister would have declared that I had got it wrong and that the government would know best about what was the most appropriate employment model.

I thank members for their support of this motion and their recognition that we need to look after those people seriously in their time of great need, not only working with them as they go into crisis but also helping them stay out of crisis and in their transition back to the community. We all recognise the work that is being done and the continued work that needs to be done in the area. I thank members for their support.

Motion agreed to.

Withdrawal of words used by member

MR SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan, in light of some comments made by Mrs Dunne, I have reviewed the Hansard of 6 March 2003. There are some words there that I would like you to withdraw, which I have advised you of. They are as follows: "There was a conscious, deliberate process of misinformation."Would you withdraw them?

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming): I am happy to abide by your ruling, Mr


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