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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2897 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Mr Hargreaves mentioned the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Yesterday I was with the Health Committee talking to a group of teachers and young people in colleges and high schools in Canberra who said that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service was absolutely unable to meet the need, unable even to respond to calls for help.

If I do not have a responsibility to raise this in this place, then I think we have a very different understanding of our responsibilities here. This is about a service that needs more attention. I am hoping that the government will take notice of these concerns. It is absolutely unnecessary to make a highly defensive response, as if I were condemning every public servant in the ACT that works in mental health as failing in their responsibilities.

I understand that it is a stressful area to work in. I have been raising these issues ever since I was elected, when Kate Carnell was in this place, when we had the gentleman breaking the windows of the Legislative Assembly. The sad reality is that I am still raising these concerns. That is the difficulty for the people working in the area. It is difficult for the public servants. I am not denying that. I acknowledge that. It is an extremely stressful place to work, because it is not properly resourced. So my sympathy goes to the public servants, but my sympathy is also with the people who need attention but cannot get it. That is why I have raised those issues.

Mr Stanhope took an extreme position in his justification for delays in coronial processes. It is not the case that every single person who was not able to speak to police was liable to be charged with manslaughter. I am asking for a reasonable look at how slow the process is because public servants have been encouraged to be defensive, no matter how far from the edge of issue or how much on the periphery they are. That was a comment from the judiciary as well. There is a legitimate position, as Mr Stanhope outlined, if someone feels they may be charged with manslaughter or something, but as I understand it magistrates are saying that this is going too far. We do not need to be so defensive.

They are the points I raised in my presentation. I want to make it quite clear that I sympathise with public servants working in an under-resourced area, and I understand the stresses they are working under.

Amendment agreed to.

Proposed expenditure, as amended, agreed to.

Debate interrupted.

Offensive and disorderly words

MR SPEAKER: Members, earlier in today's proceedings a point of order was raised by Mr Corbell in relation to some comments made by Mrs Dunne. Mrs Dunne responded by saying:

I made the point that the people of Canberra might realise they are not being honest.

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