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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 833 ..


early intervention work in our community by organisations including Mental Illness Education ACT and Menslink. It is also illustrated in the expanded and ongoing investment in PACER.

So far in its operation, PACER has resulted in a significant downturn in the number of people in emergency response situations who are subsequently taken to the emergency department. More than four in five people that PACER responds to remain in the community as a consequence of receiving local after-hours clinical assessment. This is a strong indication of the success of the model, which also results in reductions of healthcare and emergency response costs and better care for people in our community.

The ACT government will continue to invest in mental health services to meet the needs of people in the ACT during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that people receive the right care to meet their needs at the right time. However, as we move forward, I ask you to consider how we can continue to protect the mental health and wellbeing of Canberrans into the future. As highlighted recently in the Productivity Commission’s final report into mental health, good mental health is about much more than clinical care alone. People’s mental health can be affected by a range of social, environmental and economic factors, including housing, employment, education, social inclusion, the justice system and even the physical environment around them. All these factors contribute to a person’s overall mental health and wellbeing.

The ACT Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, launched in August 2020, furthers this commitment to improving whole-of-person mental health outcomes for everyone and ensuring that our service system is responsive, integrated and sustainable. The wellbeing framework further reminds us to embed thinking about all of the different things that are important to a person’s quality of life and personal wellbeing.

We have the policy evidence to enact lasting change and, as such, I believe that in future budget processes we will need to work together to protect the mental health and wellbeing of all people in the ACT. The success of programs like PACER is evidence that we can achieve more change for the community by working together. I look forward to continuing to work together to achieve meaningful, whole-of-government action for improving mental health in future.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.53): The ACT Greens support in principle the direction this budget takes to ensure that Canberrans can continue to access quality public health facilities while keeping us safe from COVID-19. We know that access to well-resourced, easy to navigate, quality and secular health care is a fundamental human right and a pillar of our liberal democracy. In a society like ours, everyone who needs medical support should be able to access it, no matter their income or circumstances.

I would like to say thank you to all of the healthcare workers in our city for continuing to keep us safe and informed over the last 12 months of the pandemic. The continued low numbers of COVID-19 cases and the high rates of testing we have seen over the


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