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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3474 ..

family stress, parents and carers have someone to talk to. Through this, Parentline makes an important contribution to intergenerational mental health and wellbeing and the development of positive family relationships.

Whilst it is a key priority for this government to invest in services that promote early intervention, we recognise that some people will require an inpatient stay, and we are investing in this too. I note that, from 1 July to 28 September 2021, patients staying for more than 24 hours in the emergency department reduced to two per cent, from eight per cent for the same period in 2019-20.

The emergency departments at Calvary Public Hospital Bruce and Canberra Hospital and the adult mental health unit have been experiencing ongoing and increasing demand pressures over some time. To respond to these immediate service demand issues, recurrent funding has been provided for 10 additional inpatient beds at Canberra Hospital on ward 12B and an increase in high dependency unit capacity for acute adult beds. The realignment of eight additional low dependency unit beds in the adult mental health unit, to be used flexibly, means they can be used as either low dependency unit or high dependency unit beds. This will assist with meeting the increasing demand for services while resulting in better patient experiences and care.

This is a comprehensive package which I am proud to commend to the Assembly. I will end by saying that I am so proud that the ACT government has invested in such a wide range of early support for Canberrans’ mental health in this budget. Through this work, we are investing in the mental health and wellbeing of our community now, and for generations to come.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.09): In a society like ours, everyone who needs medical support should be able to access it, no matter their income or circumstances. The availability of timely and affordable low or no cost health care is a key measure of success for progressive, forward-thinking communities. This budget takes important steps towards improving services within our health system as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

It is important to remember that our health system is broader, and even more complex, than just hospital services. This health budget has a strong focus on the provision of care for vulnerable and minority populations, who we know are more likely to experience discrimination and ostracism from the health system.

Alongside a huge infrastructure spend for health, and the introduction of life-saving nurse to patient ratios, this budget invests in tackling these problems, including harm reduction for people who use drugs, support for people experiencing distress from mental health concerns, and the implementation of the much-anticipated LGBTQIA+ health scoping study.

There is no doubt that this budget has a strong focus on the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks. Testing, tracing, isolating and quarantine will remain a key part of the response to COVID, alongside our nation-leading vaccination program. The controlled response to the outbreak we have witnessed this financial year already is a testament to the directorate, Canberra Health Services, the Chief Health Officer, the

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