Page 3353 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

professional way. At the time of this bomb scare, a public function being attended by in excess of 30 people was under way in the reception room of the Legislative Assembly and staff also were working in the building. Minister, why, during this incident, was the Legislative Assembly building not checked for occupants by the authorities, given the proximity of the incident? Why were visitors and staff in this building not asked to evacuate by the authorities or at least informed about the incident when nearby streets and other buildings had been cordoned off?

MR HARGREAVES: I have every confidence that in this sort of incident the professionalism of the police force in this town would come to the fore and that they would make these judgments. They would, of course, take those sorts of decisions about just how far and how wide to cast the net concerning evacuation. I am not aware of the detail of their decision making and I will find out.

Canberra Hospital—mental health precinct

MS MacDONALD: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Today the government announced that ACT Health is considering the development of a mental health precinct at Canberra Hospital. How will this precinct enhance mental health services at Canberra Hospital?

MR CORBELL: Today the government has outlined that it is undertaking the planning work to identify locations for new mental health facilities at Canberra Hospital. These include locations for a new psychiatric services unit; locations for a new forensic facility to accommodate mentally ill persons who would otherwise be inappropriately placed in areas such as the Belconnen Remand Centre; and facilities for young people who are currently, in my view, inappropriately housed in the psychiatric services unit along with adults who also have a mental illness.

This mental health precinct is part of a new approach to planning for mental health services in the ACT. The objective is to provide high-security adult and young persons services, and possibly other inpatient and outpatient services. Establishing this precinct will increase our capacity to provide facilities that will increase bed numbers and, importantly, provide for support between the various facilities as they work together in a single location.

The site being considered is in the southwest corner of the Canberra Hospital campus, which—for those members who might not be familiar with it—is essentially on the corner of Yamba Drive and Hindmarsh Drive in the Woden Valley. Currently the ACT has about 30 acute adult beds and a crisis assessment and treatment team located at the Canberra Hospital, and 20 adult acute beds at Calvary Hospital for mentally ill people.

The planning work we are undertaking identifies 20 acute beds for young people aged 13 to 25; 30 acute adult beds; and a 15-bed high-security facility at the Canberra Hospital, which will include services for forensic mental health patients. There is also a proposal to collocate the crisis assessment and treatment team with the emergency department in the Canberra Hospital to create a psychiatric emergency centre.

This highlights the comprehensive planning work the government is now undertaking to provide the basis to make future decisions about new mental health facilities at the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .