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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3841 ..

are unable to receive the treatment they need. But those discussions will continue. Epidemiologically, we know that health and mental health determinants and outcomes for deaf or deafblind people are challenging. We are dedicated to determining the mental health service provision gaps in the ACT, if there are any, to identify them and then action them appropriately.

I acknowledge the efforts of Ms Lawder and also Mrs Dunne for the deaf community and their work to help break down the barriers for those people in the community. I assure them that I endeavour to clearly ascertain what we can do better in this space, where and if there are any gaps, and how we can make the services available more widely accessible to the deaf community.

I have circulated the amendment. My apologies that it came a little late, but I was caught out by the early start to the discussion. But it was circulated the last time this motion came forward. Hopefully members have had a chance to see it. I move:

Omit all text after “That this Assembly”, substitute:

“(1) notes that:

(a) up until March 2018, a contracted psychologist visited the ACT to work with deaf and deafblind ACT residents;

(b) members of the deaf and deafblind community attended this clinic, primarily because this psychologist has Auslan skills and understands deaf and deafblind people and their mental health issues;

(c) ACT Health undertook a review of this psychologist’s funded program in November 2017;

(d) after advising ACT Health of the decision to cease the contract, this psychologist no longer sees deaf and deafblind patients in Canberra;

(e) all ACT Government mental health services have access to interpreter facilities, including on-site Auslan interpreters provided by the National Interpreting and Communication Services, which help the deaf and deafblind community to access face-to-face, one-on-one mental health services;

(f) there is a skills shortage of Auslan interpreters across Australia; and

(g) this may have implications for the general mental health of our deaf and deafblind community for the ACT and in Australia; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to consult with key stakeholders, including the Deaf Society, Office for Disability, and mental health and disability services, to ascertain any concerns held by our deaf and deafblind community in the ACT about mental health service provision or gaps that may exist, and report back to the Assembly by the last sitting week of the year.”.

I commend it to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Cheyne) adjourned to a later hour.

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