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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 53..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The government is committed to supporting people with mental disorders and to addressing the mental health needs of the community. The first priority is providing quality mental health services for persons with serious mental disorders. The reviews of the past 18 months have contributed significantly to the implementation of reform in the mental health sector.

This government's commitment to mental health has seen the budget funding to the sector grow substantially from the position we inherited from the previous government. The national mental health report for 2002 states that the ACT spent the least of all the states and territories on mental health in the financial year 1999-2000, at $67 per head of population. I am pleased to report that now, with the most recent ACT budget, our target for mental health is $117 per head of population. This government has committed these additional resources, particularly in the areas of child and adolescent and older persons mental health. We have also reformed the structure of mental health services, establishing a single point of accountability for policy, planning, service development and delivery with the formation of Mental Health ACT.

I am informed that the ACT mental health strategy and action plan is being finalised. The strategy and action plan will develop a population-based framework for resource allocation that addresses the range of mental health needs across the ACT. I have tabled today the government response to the Standing Committee on Health report 6. I have also tabled the progress reports on the implementation of the recommendations of Mr Patterson's report and of the Mann and LaRoche report. During the coming year I will table a progress report on a quarterly basis, that is, within 30 days of the end of the relevant financial quarters, in line with the other quarterly health reports. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Respite care

Paper and statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning): I present the following paper:

Sustaining Caring Relationships-Final Report of the Met and Unmet Needs in Respite Care Project-Government response.

I ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I am pleased to table today the government response to the report on met and unmet needs in respite care. As members would be aware, the respite report was tabled in the Assembly in June 2003 following a government commitment to establish empirical evidence on the extent of met and unmet needs in respite care, now and into the future.

The government has taken time to assess the contents of the respite report and the recommendations put forward. Of the 28 recommendations made, 25 were agreed to or agreed to in principle. Three were noted and will inform future service planning. The

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