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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1366..

Spastic Centre

MRS BURKE (10.04): I would just like to bring to the attention of the house the good

work that the Spastic Centre of the ACT is currently doing. I had the pleasure and honour of being an MC at the Spastic Centre Mini Models Competition Finals Fashion Parade on Saturday where some littlies from three years to 12 years of age modelled to raise well-needed and well-earned funds for the Spastic Centre.

There are so many great groups out in the community and from time to time it is worth remembering what each group does. I have printed off something from the Spastic Centre website about cerebral palsy and want to remind people that cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement control which results from damage to part of the brain. The term "cerebral palsy"is used when the problem has occurred to the developing brain, usually before birth. There are different types of cerebral palsy and the most common one is spastic cerebral palsy. Spasticity means stiffness or tightness of the muscles. The muscles are stiff because the message to the muscles is sent incorrectly through the damaged part of the brain.

I have said all that because part of the entertainment for the morning was one TJ James, a young guy whom I have known for quite some years and who started off adult life busking around the streets in Canberra. He suffers from cerebral palsy but does not let his disabilities stop him. In fact, on the website it says in the conclusion: "It is important to focus on what the person with cerebral palsy can do and the ways they can maximise their achievements. Their physical appearance may not indicate their intellectual or cognitive abilities."Anybody who has ever heard TJ James playing around the Canberra Centre, in Woden or at various venues around town will certainly know that he does not let his disability halt him.

We also have to say congratulations to the Legs Dance Academy and to Willy Wombat, who were also in attendance on the day. And, of course, these things never happen or come to fruition without the help of sponsors for the day: Victoria's Models and the Commonwealth Bank need to be given a big thankyou for their support. I do not know how much was raised on the day, but I just wanted to say that it was a great pleasure and honour to be involved in it. We need to keep in mind these issues and remember organisations like the Spastic Centre as often as we can in this place.

Mental health

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (10.07): We had some mirth and merriment from those opposite today about the Liberals' mental health policy and its funding and I just want to read a paragraph from Mr Corbell's press release headed "Liberals can't pay for their mental health promises". If the opposition is going to query our maths, let us get to the heart of it. Mr Corbell's paragraph goes like this:

We need to be realistic and that's why the Government has increased mental health funding by $3.4 million in the last two Budgets. This has increased per capita spending from the lowest in Australia when we came to office at $67 per head to $117 per head, which is on par with the national average.

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