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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1232 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

They are the range of responses that are being undertaken in relation to that particular incident.

It is also relevant to note that the most recent strategic plan for mental health service delivery in the ACT, "The future of mental health services in the ACT: moving towards 2000 and beyond", has an effective end date of June 2002; that is, next month. In light of that, I deemed it appropriate that the Department of Health and Community Care continue its consultations and consideration around the development of a new mental health strategic plan in future to actually replace that which terminates, as a matter of course, in a month or so. That is additional work that will be undertaken, certainly in the context of the development of a new strategic plan, to continue the work and the policy that informed the existing mental health strategic plan which was put in place by my predecessor, Michael Moore.

In addition, Mr Hargreaves, I should indicate that this government also recognises significant gaps in mental health service delivery. That is why we went to the last election with a promise to provide an additional $1 million for the delivery of mental health services in the ACT. We recognised that there was a significant gap, as perhaps there always will be. We recognised the seriousness of the gap that does exist in the delivery of mental health services. We promised an additional $1 million. We will deliver on that promise.

It is a matter of concern, I guess, to all governments. We respond to these things in different measures.

We promised also an additional $1 million for enhanced disability services in the ACT. We will deliver on that promise.

We promised an additional $1 million for respite care services. We will deliver on that promise, because we recognise how fundamental services around mental health disability and respite are to the capacity of those most vulnerable people in our community to participate in community life and be a part of the community.

We recognise, particularly in relation to those three areas, the significant gaps indeed that we face, and this government will respond.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, can I therefore take it from your response that the government will honour its commitment made during last year's election campaign to inject an additional $1 million into mental health services?

MR STANHOPE: I think I did anticipate the supplementary question. Great minds think alike, Mr Hargreaves. We will most certainly honour our commitment to the community and we will honour our commitment to people in this community with a mental issue, just as we will for those with a disability or those seeking respite care.

I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.

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