Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1464..
MR BERRY (continuing):
Brian was a foundation member of the newly-formed Plumbers, Drainers, and Gasfitters Licensing Board and he still serves on the board as chairman, protecting the plumbing industry. In 1983 and 1984 Brian helped the Construction Building Union Superannuation Scheme, the CBUS scheme as it is called, to form in the ACT, ensuring workers' savings were protected for retirement. He was instrumental in the development of training schemes for apprentices in the construction industry. He is a member of ANZRA, the Australia and New Zealand Reciprocity Association, which organises plumbing credentials between New Zealand and Australia. He has been national president of the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied services Union, plumbing division, for five years. He was a founding member of the building trades group, which provides support for building workers in the region, and is still a current member. He was involved with the Construction Industry Training and Employment Association, CITEA, to assist apprentices in the development of trade skills, and he is a plumbing school board member at the CIT. He has been a member of the Trades and Labour Council for some 30 years and has organised the picnic day golf event for about 20 years. So good luck in your retirement, Brian.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (5.37): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to comment on things that Mr Corbell said in question time today. He reaffirmed his previous claim that spending on mental health was $67 per capita when this government came to office. He got this figure from the national mental health report 2002, but he failed to make it clear to the Assembly that the figure referred to the 1999-2000 year, not the year of the change of government. In fact, the budget in force in November 2001 estimated that the spending would be $82 per capita and the actual result for that year seems to have been around $87 per capita, showing the ongoing large increases in funding for mental health under the previous government.
The minister also failed today to address the issue I raised in question time that the current budget's much larger figure of $117 per capita is based on adding in administration and policy-making costs which were not included in the past years. In fact, it appears that this government has increased mental health funding by around $10 per head over its two budgets. On this basis, the comparable level of funding in the year the government changed must therefore have been around $107, not $67. So the minister is clearly using different figures in a way that vastly exaggerates the growth in mental health funding during this government. I hope the minister will have the courage to admit his error and correct the record on this matter.
Today the National Mental Health Council called for all state and territory governments to increase the mental health share of their health budgets by 1 per cent each year until it rises from the current 7 per cent, which is the average, to 12 per cent, which is exactly what the Canberra Liberals are proposing to do. So the policy of the National Mental Health Council is very similar in its effect to the policy that I announced a few days ago and which the Minister for Health has ridiculed. I hope the minister can read the National Mental Health Council documents because what he is saying also ridicules what they are seeking to achieve.