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There may be much in here that some of the new members of the Assembly were unaware of until they heard it presented to them in the hearings of this committee. Some of us have been here for a long time and have been through a number of hearings of this kind, and we are well aware; but, even then, it is a useful exercise to remind us again of some of the things that we need to be addressing in the way that we make government work for us.

MR MOORE (11.20): Mr Speaker, as an overview, this is a very interesting report. I would say, in some ways, it is a little disappointing, considering some of the issues that still need to be dealt with. Perhaps that is the challenge for the Social Policy Committee. Perhaps they will take those on. I notice that the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act is mentioned in paragraph 4.6 of the report. The committee will continue to monitor all health issues, but it really skirts right around the fundamental problems associated with mental health. It was an issue that the last Social Policy Committee took on. We took it on specifically to look at that Act. We recognised many of the difficulties there. We realised that it is an issue that is going to continue to cause problems in our community.

I think, in some ways, almost of more concern is what is not in the report. It is an overview, and I think Ms McRae touched on this. Some members of the community came out, and their issues have been drawn to attention; but most of us would be aware of many other issues that could have been brought out and dealt with. I do not think that is so much a criticism of the committee and the process, but it should make us ask about processes and how they are going. That is part of the report. What sometimes, on the surface, or on a chart, appears to be a fantastic process often just continues the same sort of result as other processes. I think we have to be careful that we do not get totally bogged down on process; that we continue to ensure that where we see an injustice it is appropriate that the Social Policy Committee look at that area of injustice, even though it perhaps does not have a strong lobby group pushing it.

I think they are some of the issues that come out of a broad reading of this first report of the Standing Committee on Social Policy in the Third Assembly. Mr Speaker, that having been said, I think the Social Policy Committee has set for itself a real challenge as to how it is now going to handle not only the issues that are raised here but also the other issues that I have just talked about, that they are aware of but that have not been raised. They have effectively thrown the gauntlet down for themselves.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (11.23): Mr Speaker, I want to comment very briefly on the report. I suppose one could take the view that the report deals with a great many issues, which would not surprise me, members of the Assembly having heard many of these things articulated over a number of years. I refer, for example, to problems with the planning of our city, services not being provided to certain areas at a level that people would like to see, underlying social problems to do with the provision of counselling and support services, particularly for disadvantaged groups, things like youth suicide, and problems relating to mental health and services around that issue. I suppose there is value in having a sort of snapshot taken of the state of these problems at present by the committee, and perhaps for others who might want to know what are the main issues of concern to the ACT community.

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