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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3697 ..


service. On occasion an ACT mental health order may be appropriate for a New South Wales resident where the person has long-term and regular engagements in the ACT. For example, it may be appropriate for the ACT to provide mental health services to a forensic mental health consumer who moves residence from the ACT to nearby New South Wales and returns regularly to the ACT for court-related purposes and who warranted an ACT community-based psychiatric treatment order while residing in the ACT.

The government recently received legal advice that the psychiatric treatment order is defined as a custodial order in part 5A of the act, “Interstate application of mental health laws”. The advice means that a PTO is not a “community” mental health order the tribunal can make for this part of the act.

In the ACT, psychiatric treatment orders provide the functions of both the custodial inpatient orders and the non-custodial community treatment orders of other jurisdictions.

The 1997 explanatory memorandum states:

… the phrases “custodial order” and “non-custodial order” are general terms intended to ensure recognition of interstate orders, where there may be specific differences between the ACT and other States/Territories in the names and coverage of some orders.

The amending clauses remove reference to custodial and non-custodial ACT mental health orders and replace them with the term “psychiatric treatment order”. This makes the original intention clear and enables the community treatment order section of the ACT-NSW mental health interstate agreement to be used. Without the amendments, section 48M of the act and the community treatment section of the interstate agreement are unusable.

The titles of sections 55C and 55J read “Offence—electroconvulsive therapy on more than 10 occasions …”. These sections internally read “on 10 or more occasions”. Clauses 15 and 16 of the amendment bill amend the headings of the sections so that the headings match the content of the sections and the clear intent of the act.

I recommend to the Assembly that the titles of sections 55C and 55J are amended to read “Offence—electroconvulsive therapy on 10 or more occasions …”. These amendments will align the headings with the content of the sections.

Section 119 (2) reads “A person is not eligible for appointment as a mental health officer unless the person is a mental health nurse, authorised nurse practitioner, psychologist or social worker”.

Dr Peggy Brown, the ACT’s chief psychiatrist, advises that occupational therapists are employed as mental health clinicians working in the community and on occasion in the mental health crisis assessment and treatment team. Occupational therapists are currently not able to be appointed as mental health officers under the act. This limits the ability of occupational therapists to fully exercise clinical mental health


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