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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 595 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

broadly based steering committee which includes consumers, consumer advocacy groups, carers, clinicians, the government, and non-government service providers.

Only two weeks ago, around 30 consultation sessions were held with groups all over the ACT. Information about the project was posted on the ACT Health website, and anyone in the community can have input into the plan by putting a comment on the site.

In developing a new strategy and action plan, the government will take into account community and consumer needs. This will not be just about outreach workers for people leaving crisis accommodation. It will also cover mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention work force planning needs, which is critical to address where any new services are being planned. Just as importantly, it will examine the critical interface between health programs and other areas of human service provision which impact on people's mental health.

The new strategy and action plan will assess the needs of the most vulnerable in our community, including youth and others at risk of mental illness. It will also address emerging and existing needs, such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide and the dual diagnoses of mental illness and drug and alcohol problems.

Mr Speaker, we are going about the business of planning and delivering mental health services in a strategic, consultative way. We want to get this right. We want to make sure that, above all, consumers, carers and the broader community are satisfied with the approach. As a government, we want to get the best value and best outcomes from the resources we have to allocate. That is why we will work with the community to determine these priorities. I do not think it is in anyone's interests to bypass the community and respond only on specific issues.

Mr Speaker, the proposition from Ms Dundas is nevertheless one which highlights that area of need. I have sought today to outline how the government has already worked to address mental health issues, and what its long-term strategy is to address these issues. I welcome Ms Dundas's call for these extra resources. I will certainly consider those, as will my colleagues, in the context of developing this year's budget.

MRS DUNNE (6.51): I rise to speak in support of Ms Dundas's motion. Having listened to the minister, I suspect he was a bit out to lunch. Ms Dundas was quite clear that she was not being prescriptive about what she wanted, but was leaving that for the budget consultations.

For those of us who have been talking with members of the community about this need, there is no doubt that there is a need for this sort of outreach in the ACT community. It is a factor we have seen year in and year out, through State of the Territory Reports and other publications. The ACT-government in and government out-has always been one of the worst possible performers at getting people out of assisted housing and into unassisted housing.

Our performance at funding people through SAPP and into independent housing is not very good. This is one of the mechanisms we could use to make the system better. As Mrs Burke has said, there are models in other jurisdictions that we could look at and

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