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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4527 ..


mental health and wellbeing. We have debated this issue in this place before, and again Mrs Dunne is writing her own history on this issue.

Let me take this opportunity to again correct the assertion. The government committed to the establishment of the office for mental health and wellbeing by 1 July 2018, following a process of extensive consultation with the community and key mental health stakeholders. The office was launched on 12 June, with staff on the ground from day one to begin engaging with the community, establishing the cross-government stewardship group and developing a clear work plan. The recruitment process for the coordinator-general started shortly after the office was launched and has involved a national search for highly qualified candidates. I look forward to providing the community with an update on the coordinator-general position very shortly.

While I support Mrs Dunne’s desire to know more about the extensive work that is happening in mental health, I do not accept the negative frame in which this motion is couched. For this reason I will be moving an amendment to the motion to better reflect the ACT government’s extensive investments and commitments to improving mental health services. While my amendment gives an outline of the significant amount of work that is already underway, I am happy to report back to the Assembly on the issues that Mrs Dunne has asked for. I am perfectly happy to share that information and we will provide it to the Assembly by next sitting, as I am confident it can all be prepared in that time.

I do not shy away from some of the challenges that come with providing mental health services, particularly for more complex and acute consumers. As I have said before, I am committed to continuing to work with staff, consumers, carers and stakeholders to address these issues. But I do want to take this opportunity to recognise the work that our dedicated staff are already doing across our mental health system. The ACT government has made investing in mental health and suicide prevention a key priority. We are committed to an integrated approach to mental wellbeing and working closely with our community sector partners. With $646 million over four years for the delivery of mental health services, the budget truly demonstrates the focus the government has on this important area of our healthcare system.

As just some examples, the ACT government has provided $22.8 million for developing more supported accommodation for people with complex mental health issues and taking a different approach to that supported accommodation, in recognition of the evolving needs of the community; $3.1 million to expand older persons mental health services; over $1.5 million to establish a pilot of the Black Dog Institute’s lifespan integrated suicide prevention framework; $2.2 million to establish a recovery-focused community outreach program for young Canberrans; $1.3 million to expand capacity at headspace; and almost $900,000 to establish a mental health recovery college.

A number of these are new and innovative services that the government has funded in recent years. We are not standing still; we are bringing new services to the ACT, in recognition of the changing community needs and the increasing demand that is


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