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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3475 ..

Minister for Health and the Minister for Mental Health. It demonstrates, too, that this budget is realistic in its understanding of how the pandemic will continue to impact our health system and how adaptive our health system will need to continue to be for some time.

We are pleased to see the government’s investment in planning for Canberra’s future health needs through support for continued funding towards new walk-in centres and continued work on the new north-side hospital. We know that a well-resourced public sector is an integral part of the delivery of health services, and we look forward to working within the government to ensure that the planning work for these services is transparent and collaborative, and centres the experiences of healthcare consumers and healthcare workers.

We note the implementation work that continues from the ACT Health and CHS culture review and remain cautiously optimistic that this will mean that we will observe improvements in the health and wellbeing of ACT Health and CHS staff, particularly junior doctors and nursing staff. The commitment the government has made through this budget to meet its agreement for nursing staff to patient ratios will no doubt save the lives of patients, provide safer workplaces for our nursing staff and help to retain quality nurses within our system.

As the ACT Greens spokesperson for drug harm reduction, I am thrilled to see that this budget begins to recognise the need for more funding in the alcohol and other drugs sector. I am particularly pleased to see some of this funding going to the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, CAHMA, a peer-led organisation which consistently performs well above its contracted expectations and which we know is integral to our harm reduction system in the ACT.

We are really proud to see that the pilot for drug testing will be funded by this budget. We are keen to see this service run continuously, with the pilot and the research to be a mechanism to tweak and pivot, not to pause and delay. This work has been a long time coming and something the ACT Greens have been advocating for for many years in this place. It builds on well-respected and evaluated work on the efficacy of pill testing at the Groovin the Moo festival.

The government’s interest in and commitment to undertaking further scoping for a drug consumption room is another important step towards reducing the harm of drugs in our city. The ACT should have had a drug consumption room a long time ago, something my colleagues, family and friends seeking drug law reform pay testament to every day.

However, we are pleased that this work is moving ahead and that the government is strong enough, evidence-based enough and caring enough to make bold decisions in the face of what is sometimes a vitriolic scare campaign about people who use drugs. My colleagues and I in the Greens look forward to continuing to support this work throughout next year.

We know that COVID exacerbated existing inequalities in health care. Climate change will be the next big crisis that our healthcare system will face. We know that

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