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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1474 ..


Mental illness is a leading cause of chronic disease in the ACT, with anxiety disorders and depressive disorders contributing to 5.1 per cent and 2.7 per cent of the burden of disease, respectively. Of particular concern are the higher rates of anxiety in the ACT in comparison to the rest of Australia. Early intervention, or ideally prevention, can have significant and life-changing positive consequences for a person’s mental health.

It is important to measure health and wellbeing at key development points across the life span. In recognition of the importance of developing healthy minds and addressing mental health concerns early in life, the ACT Health Directorate has undertaken a range of initiatives to improve the outcomes for the one in five Canberrans who have a mental health or behavioural condition and the one in seven who have an anxiety related condition and the one in 10 who reported depression or feelings of depression.

I have outlined here just some of the key findings in the current HealthStats ACT data, many of which are highlighted in the four summary reports tabled today. The path to a healthier Canberra requires collaboration and connecting our efforts across the health sector, across government—particularly in relation to the social determinants of health—and in partnership with academics, industry, community organisations and individuals. By working together and pooling knowledge, skills and resources, we have the best chance of delivering a sustained and comprehensive approach to improving health outcomes for all Canberrans.

I thank Dr Kerryn Coleman and her team for preparing this data and I commend HealthStats ACT and the supporting summaries to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (3.15), by leave: I take this opportunity to formally recognise the federal government’s intention to establish a royal commission into defence and veteran suicide and to restate the ACT government’s support for this critical inquiry. This Assembly recently endorsed an executive motion recognising the devastating rates of suicide among veterans, the groundswell in the community for a royal commission and formally called on the federal government to endorse a royal commission into this matter.

The announcement on 19 April from the federal government that a royal commission will be established is welcomed by the ACT government and is testament to the tireless advocacy of veterans, their families and the organisations who represent and work with them. We are committed to supporting the royal commission through consultation, submissions and information as required.

The key to setting up this royal commission is to ensure that the terms of reference capture the issues that are important to the community. Consultation is currently underway to shape the scope and areas of inquiry and there is no doubt that this is a


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