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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 July 2019) . . Page.. 2405 ..


Funding from the budget means that we can begin undertaking early planning for a food organics collection service. But before it is rolled out, we need to ensure that we have the processing infrastructure in place to ensure that the material can be collected but then processed, and go to the right markets to achieve the circular economy principles that we have.

There is a range of food organic processing facilities that are available and have been tested in other jurisdictions. The technologies range from vermi-composting right through to open windrowing, aerated static piles, in-vessel composting and fully enclosed composting, to name a few. We need to find out what processing facility is right for the ACT.

Research undertaken on a food organic and garden organic collection model outlines the benefits that could be gained by merging this service with green bins, using our existing waste collection contracts which conclude in 2023. The planning work is being undertaken now, with that time line in mind. Our government will continue to work to ensure that we provide better services to Canberrans and responsibly manage our waste and the environment.

Mental health—emergency presentations

MR WALL: To continue the theme, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, as at 13 June 2019 ACT Health’s risk register identifies “a risk of patients with identified serious mental health illness having long waits within the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital and other general hospital wards prior to transfer to an appropriate mental healthcare location.” The risk is classified as a high risk.

A number of actions were identified to be taken but they all had long action-by dates, some stretching out as far as March 2020, and none had been allocated to any one redress. Minister, why is a high risk not attracting a high priority of action within the health department?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Wall for the question, and I can assure him that this matter is attracting a high priority within Canberra Health Services and the Health Directorate. Within Canberra Health Services in particular it was in fact an issue that was raised with me as something that was being worked on quite early in my time after I became health minister.

Of course there are a number of issues in relation to this. There is the support for people presenting to emergency with mental health challenges, and that is a specific area of work that is being undertaken. As Mr Wall said, there are a number of actions in relation to that.

There is also the work around supporting staff to better manage their interaction with people who may be experiencing an acute mental health condition, and we did invest in the budget—and again this going forward; it is around the feasibility work—for the police, ambulance and clinician early response to people experiencing acute mental health crises to ensure that we have a better coordinated response to people in those


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