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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1580 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

A significant program of re-greening fire affected areas has already started. This allows for the reinstatement of urban assets destroyed or damaged in the bushfire that were not covered by insurance. These include verge and shrub beds and screen plantings, grass areas, sportsgrounds, providing new line marking, replacing signs and painting of bridge rails and street furniture. This budget provides $4.8 million across the four years from 2002-03.

The environmental impact of the bushfire will be addressed through a number of measures, including $2 million over three years for the restoration and rehabilitation of fire suppression trails and walking trails in national parks. Other environmental initiatives relate to weed suppression, the conservation and restoration of the Murrumbidgee corridor and a review of heritage places, including Aboriginal places.

The government will look closely at the lessons learned from the bushfire. The inquiry into the operational response to the bushfire and the coronial inquest will provide important advice to the government. The budget provides for $1.5 million for the continuation of the coronial inquest.


Mr Speaker, this is another strong budget for health. This budget builds our health services, with an extra $18.8 million for initiatives next financial year.

An additional $1.5 million, providing for a range of services to those in need, will boost mental health services in the territory. The government is meeting its commitments outlined in our health action plan to increase resources and to enhance collaboration between all elements of the mental health service system. This is on top of the additional $2 million annually that our government provided for mental health in the 2002-03 budget.

Mr Speaker, this funding will be put towards initiatives to assist patients about to be discharged from hospital and in need of adequate support once back at home. This budget funds new services for mental health users who need help with every day social interaction and basic living skills. Of this, $400,000 per annum will enable the Belconnen Mental Health Service to offer improved clinical service delivery.

Supported accommodation services will be boosted by $240,000 per annum. Extra resources of $400,000 per annum will also be provided for community teams to enable a greater effort on early mental health promotion, early intervention and resilience building.

Mr Speaker, this budget will provide $2.1 million over four years for adult dental health services to reduce the waiting list for restorative and denture services and provide better general dental care for holders of current Centrelink concession cards. This initiative goes some of the way towards restoring the damage that was done when the Commonwealth government significantly reduced its funding on the dental health program some years ago.

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