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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2185 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

my office from relatives of people with cancer who are concerned at the possibility that the level of service that they believe is required in the oncology ward will not be there when they need it.

There is one other matter that I want to address quickly and I will mention it now. It is something that does concern me. It is the continuing development of drug programs. I do not know what the Minister intends, for instance, in relation to the safe injecting place. The Minister did introduce some legislation. We have had a public debate, a useful debate. We do have positions in relation to that. (Extension of time granted) There are issues in relation to the safe injecting place that I think we need to continue to pursue. The Minister is aware of the Labor Party's position in relation to the safe injecting place. Part of that position, and an important part for the Labor Party in terms of our preparedness to accept the further development of a safe injecting place in Canberra, is the need for the moneys to be appropriated.

It is of some concern to me, in the context of the debate we are having and the Minister's public statements that he intends to persist with this matter, that there was no allocation in this budget for a safe injecting place. Having regard to the Minister's understanding of the Labor Party's position, I presume this means that he has no intention of proceeding with this matter in this financial year, and it would be of interest to the Labor Party and to me to know exactly what the Minister does plan.

The Minister has stated publicly his support for this proposal, as has the Chief Minister. I know that some others are not so supportive. Knowing, as we do, that he requires the support of the Labor Party in relation to this initiative and that we are prepared to support it in certain circumstances, I am concerned that there has been no apparent attempt to meet our particular requirement that funds for the safe injecting place must be appropriated; that funds must be provided in the budget for it so that we can see how and what is being done, along with a range of other issues that we would insist be dealt with in relation to this issue. I would like to hear further from the Minister on that particular issue. It should be clearly understood that the Labor Party is prepared to work in terms of our position on a safe injecting place, but we do have certain requirements. It is interesting to me that the Minister has not sought to meet them. It does make me wonder whether the Minister maintains his commitment to that initiative.

There is a range of other matters that I have a particular interest in and concern about, many of which go to some of the initiatives in the rectification plan, that it would be useful to debate. I really have pursued issues that we will remain acutely aware of and that we will continue to question the Minister about.. In terms of the Government's undertaking to continue to provide, on a trial basis, the monthly statements of what is going on at Canberra Hospital, there are issues that we will continue to monitor.

MS TUCKER (4.57): I want to make some comments on the area of mental health. This came up in Estimates. I did ask the Minister to respond to the review of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and I asked why it was not acknowledged in the budget that there was a need to do some very serious work in that service area. The Minister said it was too recent to have them incorporated in the budget.

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