Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2536 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Think about what that means for those people. Stop and dwell on what it means for people battling on a day-to-day basis with a mental condition-people for whom just getting through the day is a trial, people whose daily existence is affected by their capacity to participate in the community, people for whom life is a struggle. And you funded them at 171/2 per cent less than the second lowest funding jurisdiction in Australia.
After seven years of Liberal government, we found that between 20 and 26 per cent of people within our community deal with a mental health issue-one in five people. It is generally accepted that we have above the national level of mental illness. Over one in five people deal with a mental issue, and you funded them at 171/2 per cent less than the second worst funding jurisdiction in Australia, and you feel proud of that. That is a great achievement after seven years.
And I have pledged to address those issues, just as I have pledged to address the issues in relation to Disability Services. You were forced into a $1.7 million inquiry into Disability Services, and it found a whole raft of problems in the way this community and you as a government dealt with, funded and treated people with a disability in this community.
The numbers are stacking up, aren't they? You neglected people with mental issues; you neglected people with a disability; you neglected people needing respite. We went to the people of Canberra, in the election campaign, with a plan, with a pledge and with promises that we would end the neglect. And we have ended it.
We have pledged over $4 million over this next term for people with mental illness, over $10 million of extra money for people with disabilities, over $3 million for people who require respite and a new convalescent facility for the people of Canberra. We settled the nurses dispute, we are developing a whole new approach to the delivery of health services in the ACT and we created a department just for disabilities. We are dealing with the issues that this community elected us to deal with.
Respite care-Narrabundah and Dickson services
MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Stanhope, and it dovetails rather nicely with his reply to Mr Smyth. Minister, in your media release of 8 August you reassured the people of Canberra that aged care facilities would increase. However, there is significant community concern that Narrabundah and Dickson day-care respite services will be closed.
Yesterday-indeed, today you made mention of this-you expressed concern that services to mental health patients needed to be improved, and you just elaborated on that at some length. I assume that you are including people with dementia, who are easily disturbed and distressed by changes to routine and exposure to long trips, as you know.
So, while I note your assurance that the quantum of aged care services will increase and there will be no net loss in hours of respite care, I would like to know where the respite services for these people are going to be based, given that the space in Dickson is earmarked for another use and the space in Narrabundah for a different sort of