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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3471 ..

Canberra Region Cancer Centre becomes truly a comprehensive cancer centre, not only for people in the ACT but for those in our surrounding regions.

The budget includes more than $2 million to upgrade endoscopy rooms at Canberra Hospital—again, beginning delivery of ACT Labor’s election commitment. There is $3 million to undertake feasibility and design work for a new multi-storey car park at Canberra Hospital as part of the Canberra Hospital master plan—listening to the community as they have provided us with input on what they want to see at Canberra Hospital. Finally, there is $1.3 million for the long-term lease of a new and expanded medical inventory warehouse.

This budget, as I said at the beginning, represents a step change in health funding in the ACT. It delivers strong plans to future proof our health infrastructure and employ more doctors, more nurses, more allied health staff and more support staff to deliver on key commitments and the plans that the ACT people voted for at the last election. It funds our plan to ensure that our health system is able to continue delivering excellent care when and where people need it. I commend this budget to the Assembly.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (10.59): It gives me great pleasure to speak about another ACT government budget where we have put the provision of health services for our growing city front and centre. I would like to speak about a number of particularly important aspects of our mental health investment, an increase of more than nine per cent, to a total of $218 million for mental health in 2021-22 and $908 million over the forward estimates. This is in addition to $3.6 million announced in September for mental health services, separate to the budget.

Health services are vital for all sections of our community and they support us all at crucial times in our lives. Health services are particularly important for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans, who we know experience disproportionately poor health outcomes compared to the general community. I am pleased to speak about our deep and ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and acting on our responsibilities to help close the gap.

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be in the hands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. History demonstrates that government rarely knows best. This philosophy is a key feature of the investments in this budget. Money is going to Aboriginal organisations, to those who know how it should be used for the benefit of community.

We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in our prisons. A key part of addressing this is ensuring that people have access to health care that addresses their needs, and which they feel safe accessing. To support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are in AMC, there is a need to provide holistic and culturally appropriate health care for those people.

The Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services presence at the AMC commenced in 2019, as a result of recommendation 5 of the 2016 Moss

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