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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4535 ..


ACT can continue to have a health system that meets the needs of our community now and into the future.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.02): I welcome the tenor of Mr Rattenbury’s revised amendment, which calls on and substantially replicates the points I had made. That is the purpose of this motion and therefore I am happy to support the amendment.

Before I conclude, there are a few things that I do need to comment on. Mr Rattenbury spoke in his remarks about the negative characterisation that I had about the establishment of the office for mental health. I have to put on the record, as I have before, that I am sceptical as to whether the office for mental health is actually a significant policy improvement. That is really a matter of dispute between Mr Rattenbury and me. That is politics, and politics is filled with disputes of this sort. However, Mr Rattenbury talked a good talk about the establishment of the office for mental health and made quite substantial commitments which he eventually had to backtrack on.

Yes, he did make an announcement that the office for mental health would be established by July this year, but the original expectation in October-November 2016 was that it would have been established long before that. In fact, I was told in the first briefing that I received on mental health that the initial discussion paper on the structure of the office for mental health would be available by April 2017. It was not available in April 2017. I asked during estimates in June 2017, when the minister was absent, when we would see that. I was told the words, without verballing anyone, that as soon as the minister returned, that would be his first priority. I cannot remember the date offhand, but it was well into the August-September period before we did, in fact, actually see that discussion paper. That is when the date for establishment was set. It was much later than had been anticipated by the community, and it was certainly much later than was talked up to me and my staff when I first had a briefing on this.

So the negative characterisations about the establishment of the office for mental health that I make are entirely of Mr Rattenbury’s creation, because he talked the good talk and then did not deliver for quite some time, to the disappointment of many in the community. Going to one of the other negative characterisations that Mr Rattenbury made in his speech, he said that I had been critical of wraparound services in the ACT. Mr Rattenbury needs to be a little more careful in reading prepared speeches. There was nothing that I said in my comments today about—I did not even mention—wraparound services. In the words I spoke today there is no mention of being critical of wraparound services.

No-one in this place should be in the position of saying that our wraparound services are fantastic or perfect. They are not. They will always need to be improved. We always need to be on guard to ensure that they are as effective as possible. To sit back and complacently say that we cannot do better, and to criticise someone for questioning whether we can do better, is not the way we improve services in the ACT. What this should be about, and it is the sort of thing that Mrs Jones did when she was the shadow minister for mental health, is trying to have a conversation about how you best serve the people of the ACT. You cannot sit back and say, “We have all


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