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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3046 ..


funding agreements and we have increased the value of the ACT’s environment grants for the first time in 15 years to more than $300,000 per year.

Our Minister for Mental Health, who is also the minister for community recovery and emergency relief, Emma Davidson, has ensured that Canberrans doing it tough have additional supports during these tough times. She has overseen an increase of nine per cent in the total mental health budget. This means that there will be more than $50 million over four years for a range of critical mental health services, including funding to support the newly established 10 additional mental health acute inpatient beds at Canberra Hospital. This important boost to mental health services is in addition to the recently announced COVID mental health response package to support the wellbeing of Canberrans during this pandemic.

Minister Davidson has fully delivered our commitment of more than $2 million for culturally appropriate mental health suicide prevention, aftercare and postvention program for First Nations people. This initiative responds to the very real need to support this community through the difficult issues that arise with the prevalence of suicide.

A dedicated Coroner’s Court, promised by the Greens during the election, included in the parliamentary and governing agreement and funded in this budget, will deliver a better normal in coronial proceedings to reduce the suffering that drawn-out coronial processes have caused some families in the past. This is part of the ACT Greens commitment to putting people first, and I am proud to have delivered it as Australia’s first Greens Attorney-General.

I am delighted to mention that this budget includes funding of $795,000 to develop and consult on raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility. We will be leading the nation in introducing this critically important legislative change to divert children away from a life of engagement with the criminal justice system. I hope that it will set an example for my colleagues in other jurisdictions.

As emissions reduction minister, I am proud that this budget delivers the nation’s best incentives to make emissions-free vehicles the new normal, with two years free registration on electric vehicles and interest-free loans of up to $15,000 coming soon. We were the only party that took a policy for electric vehicles to the election, and it is wonderful to have such enthusiastic support from our partners in government. That is just one of an ever-improving suite of climate change policies even now stretching into the detailed decision-making of government, with the introduction this year of the social cost of carbon.

Our crossbench have been hard at work this year too, representing their constituents in helping to deliver some of the achievements in this budget. Mr Davis, the member for Brindabella, supported this Assembly’s efforts to deliver $2 million in improvements to the Lake Tuggeranong foreshore, including a new playground and more tree canopy cover. Mr Braddock pushed for an investment in the Gungahlin community, and in this budget we see $300,000 being allocated to explore with the community the feasibility of a Gungahlin community centre. Ms Clay, the member for Ginninderra, has been pursuing her passions for funding for artists, protecting vulnerable road users


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