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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 1629 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

having discussions on many occasions about how services in this area are delivered. Mr Moore has developed a strategic plan, and I believe an implementation program is on the way. Hopefully, we will be able to work together on seeing that that works for the benefit of the community.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care)(12.15), in reply: Members, I would like to express my appreciation for your support for this legislation. It has been quite a long, hard road. I would make just one very minor point about timing and this legislation being available during this sitting period. It was not an entirely appropriate thing. Members may remember that when I introduced the extension of time on 8 December last year the Government was ready to debate the issue then and there. That is worth remembering, Mr Wood, in light of what you have implied this morning - that somehow this delay is the responsibility of the Government. I do not believe that is true. I think it is a joint responsibility. We agreed that we would delay this legislation and that we would put in a sunset clause of 30 June 1999. In fact, I said at the time that I was sure that this would provide sufficient time to consider the substantive amendments. I also said:

Mr Speaker, I do so having spoken to Mr Wood and Ms Tucker, who indicated that they would like more time to look at what is a very complex piece of legislation.

To be fair, taking away the angst of the adjournment of a debate on a no-confidence motion, it is worth getting on the record that this process has been entirely appropriate and its timing has been entirely appropriate to ensure that we have the legislation done before the end of the sitting period. When I brought this legislation up, I had six sitting days up my sleeve. I always intended to do it today, on the first day of this sitting period.

That having been said, I appreciate the amount of effort that people like Mr Rugendyke, Ms Tucker and Mr Wood put into this legislation. It has been a very difficult process, as far as I am concerned. We had to look for compromises. I had to take those compromises back through Cabinet and even make some amendments that were sought by the Community Advocate to ensure the role of the Community Advocate was appropriately dealt with in the legislation. I am very pleased that members have agreed to that. I think it was self-evident, once it had been suggested to us, and it was non-controversial. Nevertheless, there have been important amendments.

Mr Speaker, while we are at the in-principle stage I will just indicate the areas to which other amendments apply, because I intend to move them together. The community treatment of persons subject to mental health orders will be dealt with, and the notification of the office of the Community Advocate will be tied in in a whole series of ways. At our very last meeting, which was held in the Assembly reception area only a couple of weeks ago, it was requested that the review of the Act take place after five years instead of after 10 years. We have accepted that. Access to the Mental Health Tribunal is dealt with, and there will be a series of minor technical amendments.

Mr Speaker, the legislation is not as the Government would have wanted it when it originally introduced its legislation. Mr Humphries has spoken to that. But I think it is still a major step forward. I appreciate the effort and time that members have put into

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