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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2187 ..

Detail Stage

Item 1 - Appropriations

Part 8 - Department of Health and Community Care

Proposed expenditure - Health and Community Care, $361,450,000 (comprising net cost of outputs, $318,691,000; capital injection, $32,811,000; and payments on behalf of Territory, $9,948,000)

Debate resumed.

MS TUCKER: I have finished what I wanted to say on that particular matter. I will say a little bit about mental health services in schools and cross-agency liaison. I am disappointed that we still do not see these issues adequately addressed by this Government's work, particularly the issue of the mental health services for children and adolescents and the relationship between the Departments of Health and Education and other agencies involved in education, health, mental health services, family services, police and juvenile justice. This is despite budget submissions made by key organisations working in this area.

It is also despite the Standing Committee on Social Policy's recommendations that came out of the report of the inquiry into services for children at risk which found the need for early intervention preventative programs for children at risk, for children with behavioural disorders and children with psychological problems. Many of these intervention services should be working more closely together, with schools particularly, or could even be located within schools across the whole range of areas. This cross-agency liaison is either missing or is poorly resourced. For example, many indigenous students still continue to fall through the net, and continue to feel and be alienated from schools.

This is clearly an issue that requires strong cross-agency liaison, but, as recently as 28 May, a workshop organised by the implementation task force of the Canberra journey of healing network, which included representatives from all agencies, actually reinforced this concern that agencies were not working together enough and did not have the resources to work together enough to support indigenous students. These concerns are mirrored across a range of different areas and reflect the Government's ongoing neglect in the area of cross-agency liaison for provision of services to children and adolescents.

MR BERRY (5.02): I will be confining my comments to the issue of the hospice and the Government's appalling performance in relation to it. There has been an attempt to recraft history in relation to this matter, which is, I suppose, quite typical of the Government.

Mr Moore: Well, don't do it.

MR BERRY: I hear Mr Moore interjecting. I heard him say at question time that he thought, in retrospect or in hindsight, that it was a lousy deal.

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