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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 3977 ..


Integrity Commission—standing committee

Membership

Motion (by Mr Wall) agreed to:

That Mr Wall be discharged from the Standing Committee on the Integrity Commission and Ms Lee be appointed in his place.

Papers

Madam Speaker presented the following paper:

Freedom of Information Act, pursuant to section 67—ACT Ombudsman—Report on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 2016—2018-19, dated 30 September 2019.

Mr Gentleman presented the following paper:

Estimates 2019-2020—Select Committee—Report—Appropriation Bill 2019-2020 and Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2019-2020—Information in accordance with the Government response to Recommendations 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68 and 69.

Mental health—loneliness

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM SPEAKER: I have received letters from Ms Cheyne, Ms Cody, Mr Coe, Mr Gupta, Mr Hanson, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Lawder, Ms Le Couteur, Mr Milligan, Mr Pettersson and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Le Couteur be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of considering loneliness as a public health issue.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (2.43): I thank the Assembly for choosing this topic, because it is a very important topic. I believe that loneliness is at the centre of many of the ills of our society. It is a serious issue, so serious that the UK appointed a minister for loneliness last year.

There is also ample academic evidence for this. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Utah, USA, told the 125th annual convention of the American Psychological Association in 2017:

There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators …

She then cited data from two particular meta-analyses. The first found that greater social connection conferred a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of early death. The


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