Page 2398 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (5.54): Just quickly, I want to thank members. For the record, if Mr Mulcahy is interested in the past as well: the previous Liberal government, other than taking about $250 million out of Actew, provided precious little to the funding of superannuation liability. It has fallen to this government to do that.

We have, to some extent I think, been assisted by the change in the superannuation scheme to an accumulation scheme, as Dr Foskey mentioned. So the times have changed for people working in the public sector. The only other thing is this mention of Assembly members’ superannuation and the emphasis on younger members. What about changing it properly for older member?

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.11—ACT Health, $530,072,000 (net cost of outputs), $19,964,000 (capital injection) and $18,631,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $568,667,000.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.56): Second only to the failure of this government to invest in affordable housing is the failure to provide additional funding to mental health services. Despite strong representation from stakeholders, and the considerable expense that has gone into developing the ACT mental health strategy and action plan, as well as the ACT mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention plan 2004-2008, the government completely overlooked this important area of need.

I cannot see how the government can deliver on aspects of the mental health strategy within the prescribed time frames without substantial new investment in mental health. Therefore I suspect that this strategy, like many others, will lapse into irrelevance, to the disappointment of all those who gave their time to contribute to it.

I was also disappointed to find out that no funding had been allocated to implementing the recommendations of the Pregnant pause report from the inquiry into maternity services in the ACT. The government has had over a year to formulate a response to this report. As a result of the delay, any responses now have to wait for another budget cycle.

Another area of need that missed out in this budget was indigenous health generally and, specifically, initiatives to address illegal and problematic drug use amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I acknowledge that the report, I want to be heard: an analysis of needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander illegal drug users in the ACT and region for treatment and other services, produced by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, which found there was a need for new and expanded services in the ACT to address this issue, was released just prior to the budget. I hope that perhaps it receives the attention it deserves in the future.

As I said in my initial budget reply speech, the ACT government is doing some good work in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It continues to provide support to Winnunga Nimmityjah and to the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal

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