Page 176 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004

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Other priorities for community and mental health in the coming year include developing specialised individual responses to clients whose needs are associated with personality disorder, in particular borderline personality disorder.

Finally, Mr Speaker, I want to turn to the issue of older persons’ mental health. There is an identified gap in services, particularly inpatient services, for older persons with mental illness. We now have in place planning for a 20-bed inpatient facility, and the priority for 2005-06 will be to develop models of care and begin a recruitment strategy to recruit appropriately skilled staff for the new inpatient facility.

In relation to elective surgery and access block, which have been matters of some debate and discussion in the Assembly today, I would like to reiterate: the government is acutely conscious that, while strategic changes set the scene for longer term improvements to our system, the issues of elective surgery and access block affect the community’s daily interaction with the system. They are key issues. The advice I have from ACT Health is that the changes the government has recently put in place to ease access block are having an effect. As I indicated, access block is down to 20 per cent, compared to the 35 or 40 per cent it was at previously.

The government has committed to the provision of an additional 20 acute care beds and will be moving to begin to deliver on its promises in relation to that. The new 60-bed sub and non-acute facility to be built at the Calvary Hospital will ensure that acute hospital beds are taken by patients requiring acute care, rather than care better provided in another health care setting.

Mr Speaker, the government has a proven record in delivering additional resources dedicated to improving health services for the people of Canberra. Despite these additional resources, I acknowledge there is still more work to be done to address the emerging demands across the health sector. I am confident the government has a comprehensive strategy in place to address these issues and will continue to work hard to address what is a key issue for the Canberra community.

Minister for Planning—portfolio responsibilities

Ministerial statement

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning): I seek leave to make a ministerial statement concerning my portfolio responsibilities as Minister for Planning.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I am pleased to present this ministerial statement outlining the government’s priorities in the territory’s planning and development, including transport, over the next four years. The key issue for the government is to make the planning system simpler, easier to understand, with greater certainty, consistency and in a contemporary setting.

In its first term, the Stanhope Labor government fundamentally changed the role of planning in the ACT by establishing the ACT Planning and Land Authority, the ACT Planning and Land Council, the Land Development Agency and re-establishing

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