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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3072 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

He chronicles the guerilla warfare of Jandamarra up in the mountains. He talks about the Kalkadoon people, who made a charge reminiscent of the Zulu charges. Most Australians would not know that the Kalkadoon people defended their ground to the bitter end, spear-hurling natives charging into the barrels of the British riflemen. They showed extraordinary courage. Bruce created such a stir with the first edition that many people wrote to him and said, "This happened in our area" or "That happened in our area". As a part of consciousness raising, it was a tremendous effort. I am looking forward to getting my copy of the second edition.

For those who do not know, the monument is a simple plaque on a rock about a third of the way up Mount Ainslie behind the Australian War Memorial. Bruce said that he did not know we had such a monument in the ACT. He did not know that it existed. He found today quite enlightening and was very pleased that such a thing existed in the national capital.

Canberra Hospital - Psychiatric Unit

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care, the ever lovable Mr Michael Moore. Can the Minister say when the refurbishment of Canberra Hospital's psychiatric unit will commence? Have any decisions been taken on where current patients will be housed while the refurbishment takes place?

MR MOORE: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves, for the question. To the best of my knowledge, no decision has been taken at this stage. The Government is spending $2m to refurbish the psychiatric unit at the Canberra Hospital, which is actually a great shame. The plaque in the unit shows that it was opened by Mr Berry only five years or so ago, and already the unit is proving to have been poorly designed and created. Built at the end of an era, it reflects that era rather than the new era. It was caught by time, but the challenge for us is to make sure that we can deal with the patients there.

A number of options are being considered. One option is to use one of the wards in the Canberra Hospital that are currently closed. That would create quite a number of problems, particularly as a secure care facility. Many mental health patients are smokers. That creates a further problem for us. Other options include Watson Hostel and Jindalee, but to the best of my knowledge no decision has been made on the best option.

MR HARGREAVES: I ask a supplementary question. I thank the Minister for that response. I also congratulate the Minister on his perception about the fact that that particular ward was done and then the refurbishment started. That indeed caused a lot of problems. I appreciate that. Can the Minister guarantee that all necessary measures will be taken to ensure that the interim facility - Watson, Jindalee or wherever - will be adequately equipped to deal with patients' safety and comfort while the psychiatric ward is refurbished? How much does the Minister envisage the interim provisions will cost? Will these resources come from within the $2m you have allocated for the refurbishment?

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