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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3882 ..

I understand that it is sometimes difficult to reach these people, and even if you reach them it can be difficult to get them to agree to participate in a consultation process. However, we must give them that opportunity. They deserve that and they have the right to that. I have undertaken to Minister Rattenbury that I will do my part in talking to people I know in the deaf community and asking them if it is okay to pass on their contact details so that they can be included in this consultation. That of course would take place within usual government consultation, with privacy and confidentiality et cetera assured for those people if they choose to participate. I understand that it is not always simple to get people to participate, but they must be given that opportunity.

This is an area that I feel very strongly about—the deafness sector, an area I used to work in. I know many people in this sector and I have a very strong personal commitment to ensure that they get the support that they need because they face enough challenges—communication challenges, employment challenges, education challenges. Despite everything that we all try to do with respect to service provision for people in the disability sector, they have enormous challenges and we must give them every opportunity to get the mental health support that they need.

It appears, from the examples I have been given, that this has not happened well enough in the recent past. There is more that needs to be done. I welcome the comment I had earlier, offline, from Mr Rattenbury that he is committed to looking into this matter and trying to make improvements. I can assure you, Madam Speaker, that I will be holding him to that commitment. I will hear from members of the community about progress or otherwise and I will be asking more about this if something is not done in a very concrete way once we get the report back to the Assembly at the end of this sitting year, as proposed in Mr Rattenbury’s amendment. I thank members for their comments today. I thank Mr Rattenbury for his amendment. I hope that members here today will accept my amendment to Mr Rattenbury’s amendment.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (4.26): Just very briefly on the amendment, I am happy to accept Ms Lawder’s amendment. In a conversation we had offline before, she indicated that there were some other members of the community and stakeholder groups who were not specifically mentioned in my amendment that she felt were relevant. I am very happy to make sure that we are talking to as many people as possible.

As I said in my remarks, the discussions we have had so far have not indicated service gaps, but I take at face value the observations that Ms Lawder is making that there are service gaps. I am keen to identify those and hear from people who have experienced that. I certainly welcome the offer from Ms Lawder to provide some specific contacts that she has in mind to enable us to make sure we make contact with the people who might not be confident to come forward in the first instance but who will hopefully feel that they can come and chat to the government and some of the people who work in our agencies in order to hear their experiences.

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