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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2829 ..

The budget delivers $2 million to plan and construct a Weston Creek walk-in centre, delivering on our election commitment. I understand that ACT Health has been working hard to assess the possible locations for the centre and the final location will be announced soon. I also know it will be welcomed by Weston Creek and Molonglo residents and it will deliver real benefits, especially as we see this community growing substantially into the future.

It is a shame that every step of the way the opposition has stood up against our local walk-in centres, but we will continue to press ahead with delivering affordable health services in communities where they need it.

Health is at the heart of why Labor seeks government: to build a healthcare system that improves quality of life for all. Our revenue in this budget provides the most significant funding to our health system. We fundamentally believe that it is the community’s and the public’s responsibility to support decent health care, and we are prepared to fund the necessary investments to make sure that as our city grows the health of Canberrans is supported.

In every budget we are making the necessary health investments to ensure that every person can participate fully in our community, with investments in free local healthcare services right through to opening new hospitals. This is a very different path to cutting revenue and cutting health services, which is the approach of those opposite. Our budget path is to grow healthcare services for our growing community. I commend to the Assembly the health measures in the budget.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (11.43): I am pleased to speak on the health output classes in the budget and talk about the initiatives in this year’s budget that will provide greater support for Canberrans with different levels of mental illness and to take that particular focus given my portfolio responsibilities.

Members will have heard me say before in this place that around one-third of Canberrans will need mental health care at some stage in their lives. Increasingly, as the stigma around mental illness breaks down, more people are putting up their hand and asking for help. This is, of course, a positive development, but it means that our local services and facilities have to expand as our population grows and also as demand increases so that people can access the right care when they need it. When someone has the courage to put their hand up and say, “I need help,” we need to do the very best we can to make sure that help is available.

Early intervention for mental illness and suicide prevention are key priorities for the ACT government. As part of this we are also committed to an integrated approach to mental wellbeing and working closely with our community sector partners. As Minister for Mental Health, I am proud of the initiatives in this year’s budget. With $646 million over four years for the delivery of mental health services, the budget truly demonstrates the focus that the ACT government has on this important area of our healthcare system.

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