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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3056 ..


Another particular aspect of Mr Pettersson’s motion that directly contradicts Minister Stephen-Smith’s amendment to my motion yesterday regarding the state of the ACT health system is that yesterday I called on the Assembly to require from the government a workforce plan for the whole of ACT Health.

For reasons totally unknown—or, I suspect, reasons that the minister knows but does not wish to disclose—she moved an amendment to my motion to remove my direct call on the ACT government to develop a health workforce plan. My motion sought to “develop and implement a comprehensive health workforce strategy to establish a pipeline of highly skilled healthcare professionals to serve the ACT in the decades to come”. This, of course, includes mental health. I am so glad to see that Mr Pettersson and I are on a unity ticket on this concept.

It is totally unclear why there was no merit yesterday in a holistic workforce strategy covering thousands of doctors, nurses, allied health workers and so on, including those in mental health, for the years to come, but today there is merit in a mental health workforce strategy being developed within six months.

Mr Pettersson: You’re not as persuasive as I am.

MRS JONES: Maybe I do not have the right jersey on, Mr Pettersson. This is just another example of how one half of the coalition of Labor and the Greens—the CLAG, as it was referred to by our friend Mr Parton—has no idea what the other half of the CLAG is doing. It is another example of one minister not coordinating with another minister or, perhaps, the health minister not being willing to undertake a sensible planning job that the mental health minister is willing to undertake. What is most important, though, is that this workforce strategy will be done, at least in mental health, as soon as possible, and it will show the Minister for Health what can be done.

The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this motion. Before we do, I would like to repeat my call for our young people to stay strong. Canberra is a wonderful city that brings amazing opportunities. The time for study, adventure and travel is coming soon. Reach out if you need help and, again, stay strong. You have so much ability and drive inside you. I am here to back you up, and the Canberra Liberals are here to back you up. We will be supporting Mr Pettersson’s motion.

On a final note, I note that the motion talks about eating disorders. I have been aware for many years that we have had a deficiency in eating disorder services in Canberra. I stood with some young women 10 years ago in Woden town square asking for support for this. I know that the federal government committed some money at the last federal election. I know that Dr Paterson said that it has never materialised, but I believe it has.

I know that there is additional money now for eating disorders—another $400,000 for services as well. I would not mind if there was a complete update for the Assembly of where exactly we are up to on eating disorders at some stage very soon.


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