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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2896 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

In estimates I also explored a concern I had about mental health services for young people, adolescents. I was concerned to hear that CAMHS was moving out of Tuggeranong into Callam Offices at Woden. I was assured in the estimates process that their outreach services were still intact and were good and well directed.

The people in the community care area put some officers into the Lanyon youth and community centre, known as the Murra centre, to provide services in that centre to stop people getting to the stage where they are crisis. One of the aims of that centre was that it be a solution for the problems and that it would grow. It was put there as a preventative measure. The introduction of CAMHS there was an extraordinarily good move. I have had some feedback from the managers of the centre and some of the people who use it. They think it is doing exactly what the intention was.

When I was listening in the estimates, I was also heartened to hear about the activities the government is undertaking in partnership with the Commonwealth and of their own volition in trying to get medical services for the Lanyon Valley. The Lanyon Valley has a one-doctor surgery that has closed books. Alternative medical services are being proposed and being examined. It is a high priority with the government to provide those services.

We talk about what is wrong in the hospital, what is wrong with disability services, what is wrong with mental health. We can postulate about that for days and years. But one of the issues is the culture of confidence. If people's heads are down and they are not feeling too good about themselves, they are not going to provide a good service. They are not going to be in a position to be able to assist other people.

It is incumbent upon this Assembly-opposition, crossbench and indeed the government-to make sure these people feel good about what they do and feel valued. We should be supporting them to provide the services rather than using them as pawns in a chess game to score political points. A lot of the officers providing services in the health system have been beaten senseless, and their self-esteem is at an all-time low. Perhaps we ought to be trying to address how we are going to fix that instead of worrying about scoring points.

MS TUCKER (9.05): I would like to respond to a couple of points Mr Stanhope and Mr Hargreaves made. Mr Stanhope either did not hear what I said or has misrepresented what I said. I did not say that everyone working in the public service in mental health did not care. I know what I said. It is in writing. I said:

There has been no shortage of people contacting my office with the view that ...

I have been contacted by members of the community who feel that Mental Health Services have failed them. Mr Hargreaves, now in government, apparently does not think it is our responsibility to raise this issue; that now it is inappropriate politicisation. I do not recall him taking that line when he was in opposition. I believe we do have a responsibility in this place is to raise concerns if services are not meeting the needs of the people in the community. These are vulnerable people.

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