Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4878 ..
not have an existing tenancy or have no place to go. They are the discussions that we have been having and that, indeed, I will be having again with the ministerial council on mental health when we meet again in, I think, December.
MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.
MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, have people who are under the age of 18 and who are homeless ever exited from an acute mental health facility to unsupported accommodation, and on what basis is this an acceptable practice?
MS GALLAGHER: Under the age of 18?
Ms Bresnan: Yes.
MS GALLAGHER: I am not aware of any case of someone under the age of 18 leaving a Mental Health ACT facility and being released into an unsupported environment. There is no case that I am aware of, but I will have to take some further advice on that.
This came up with a previous question on notice around someone going to the Dickson backpackers. Post that issue becoming public, I received correspondence from a number of business owners who said that they would no longer make their place available to people who had a mental illness based on the publicity that had got. I would have to say that I found that a little bit disappointing because Mental Health ACT do try to find—if there are restricted, limited, options and there is no family or permanent tenancy or there is a consumer who does not want to go to particular places, it is hard if options are ruled out. Not long ago I visited the Civic mental health team and I know how hard the staff work to support individuals in the community. But some of this comes down to individual choice. I am not aware of anyone under the age of 18 that I can recall, but I will take further advice on it.
MR SESELJA: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Seselja.
MR SESELJA: Minister, in relation to the Oaks Estate example—and I think it is Samaritan House that you are talking about—what coordination occurs with service providers in Queanbeyan in particular, given the proximity and given we know that there is a lot of cross-over of the border with this population?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. It is an additional service to Samaritan House but run by the same organisation. The workers who are funded through this program work very closely with particularly Queanbeyan GPs in supporting individuals who are living at Oaks Estate. They are also supported through Mental Health ACT, through the Civic mental health team. But following my visit out there last week and a request from the service provider that we look at ways to provide services at Oaks Estate, rather than people having to come in to the city to get