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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4324..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

That said, the government has clearly acknowledged that it needed to boost mental health funding and this government has delivered on that. This government has increased mental health funding to a new high of $117 per head of population. It is up from the $80-odd that we were left by the Liberal Party. The government has increased mental health funding. We are doing the work in focusing on improving facilities at the psychiatric services unit. We have expanded community outreach programs. We have provided new programs, such as the cottage day program for adolescents.

We are working hand in hand with doctors and nurses to improve our mental health services, but it is always an area where there is tragedy from time to time. If Mr Smyth is interested in the particular circumstances of this tragic event, I am prepared to provide him with a briefing. I am not sure when it occurred. Certainly, it did not occur recently, because I would have been advised of it. It sound like Dr Sev Ozdowski is referring to an event some time ago. I will provide the details to Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I thank the minister for offering to provide that information. I would be very interested in it. Could the minister include in the briefing information on whether there have been any other mental health clients who have committed suicide in the past three years and who had been refused assistance by ACT mental health services prior to committing suicide?

MR CORBELL: It is a fairly complex question, but I will do my best to provide that information.

Health system

MRS DUNNE: My question to the Minister for Health relates to a document entitled State of the ACT Health System. This four-page full-colour document, which is chock-a-block with what could be described as government propaganda, has been delivered to residents of Evatt and therefore, presumably, throughout the rest of Canberra. Minister, how much did this four-page piece of Labor propaganda cost to develop, print and deliver?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I am advised that this document, which is an excellent summary of all the issues affecting health services in the ACT, both good and bad, cost approximately $15,000 to print and deliver. It is far from a glossy document. In fact, it tells the Canberra community the full story about what is happening in our health services. For example, not only does it acknowledge that we are performing very well in relation to health teaching and research and an increasing use of outpatient services, but it also acknowledges that we have longer waiting times than other jurisdictions in relation to elective surgery and it acknowledges the number of beds operational and not yet operational in aged care. So if this were a propaganda document you would not have the bad news in there.

The government has been committed to making sure that Canberrans get the full advice on what is occurring in their health system and that is what this document provides.

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