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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3090 ..

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Mental health—efficiency targets

MR RATTENBURY: Yesterday in question time I was asked a question by Mrs Kikkert which I took on notice. I also wish to respond to assertions made by Mrs Dunne and Mrs Kikkert during the budget debate on Tuesday.

I can confirm for members today that there is no savings or efficiency target applied to the adult mental health unit. The savings and efficiency target cited in the independent external review of mental health services was part of ACT Health’s internal budget management process for 2016-17 and 2017-18. I can confirm that ACT Health’s internal budget management process no longer applies this approach of efficiency targets allocated to divisions.

Noting this, I can assure members and the community that mental health services are not subject to an efficiency target in 2018-19. I can also provide assurances that no mental health services were cut or reduced as a result of efficiency targets over the previous two years.

I also caution members against making assumptions about the direct impact of any savings target on services. Use of emotive terms like “budget cuts” is not accurate, and the budget papers back this up. In 2018-19 we are increasing our investment in mental health services to $157 million, a five per cent increase for this financial year. The government is committed to continuing to invest in mental health services across inpatient services and community-based services, and this is reflected in the significant initiatives in this year’s budget.

Mrs Dunne asked me yesterday why I was unable to answer the question. I can confirm that I was actually needing to get the detail, because through the course of Tuesday’s debate several different versions of what was being asked about were put. In the initial debate Mrs Dunne said:

But the most concerning thing was the revelation that there is a nine per cent cut over two years in mental health funding.

Later, Mrs Kikkert said:

It is … disappointing to hear that the government plans to cut funding for inpatient mental health services by nine per cent over two years.

Later, in the adjournment debate, Mrs Dunne made a further reference. So it was important for me to get behind what was actually being talked about. Certainly, the initial assertions bore no resemblance to anything in this year’s budget.

Personal explanations

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.23): I seek leave to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MADAM SPEAKER: Leave is granted.

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