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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 467 ..

MS BERRY: Yes, I did raise concerns along the way. I have already explained in my first answer that this was a complex negotiation for a 20-year contract, something different for the ACT. I am now confident that that arrangement is a good one and will serve those residents well into the future.

MR PARTON: Minister, which types of tenants were being targeted when these properties were being offered? More specifically, were these properties offered on the basis of greatest need, or were other factors at play when these properties were allocated?

MS BERRY: I am not sure what you are implying with “other factors in play”. But these are community properties, not public housing properties, so, yes, they were targeted for people who are living with different kinds of disabilities, including mental health conditions.

Budget—emergency services

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. How is the government driving innovation in the ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Policing?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Paterson for her question and for her interest in the safety of Canberrans. I have been proud to have worked with staff across ACT Policing and the ACT Ambulance Service to implement the new innovative Police, Ambulance and Clinician Early Response Service. PACER is an integrated service model that brings together police, paramedics and mental health clinicians to support the safe assessment and treatment of people experiencing acute mental health episodes. The PACER model has been proven to reduce demand on our crucial policing, paramedics and emergency departments and secure better outcomes for people in need.

We have invested an additional $14.1 million for PACER in this budget, a top-up of the $720,000 provided as part of the mental health support program last year so that our 29 highly trained PACER members can continue to achieve positive results for the Canberra community. This is just one of the many innovations we are delivering as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting our first responders to keep Canberrans safe and to achieve better outcomes for those in need.

DR PATERSON: Thank you, Minister. What benefits will PACER bring to the ACT community?

MR GENTLEMAN: I am pleased to report that PACER has already resulted in better mental health outcomes for people in need, while reducing demand in our emergency responders. PACER has resulted in a significant downturn in the number of mental health patients apprehended under the Mental Health Act and presenting to the emergency departments. During 2020 PACER teams responded to 1,249 mental health callouts that resulted in 963 Canberrans receiving care in the home and remaining in the community.

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