Page 618 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 11 February 2009

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MR SMYTH: This report is dated 7 May 2007. What we have just had tabled is the ACT Mental Health services plan document, 7 May 2007. This report contains 81 pages. The draft report was May 2007. In three or four months it will be May 2009. When is the final report being received, minister? And will you also table the final report?

Debate interrupted.


MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Members, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a former member, Ms MacDonald.

Mental health—planning

Debate resumed.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (12.08), in reply: Firstly, I address the issue of the KPMG report, and I fail to see its relevance to the motion I put forward today. It is an entirely different document for a start, because the government obviously did not claim privilege over it, so that is the issue there. I would like the opposition to note, as we stated in the first sitting week last year, that the Costello review will be the first document to be referred to the independent arbiter, the formation of which is noted in the ALP-Greens agreement. I just draw your attention to that once again.

I thank Mr Hanson, Ms Burch and the minister for their support of the motion. I do acknowledge that there is a difficulty in bringing together the many groups involved in or with an interest in mental health, but I think it has been noted elsewhere that this can be achieved, and we should be drawing on this experience and looking at how that has been done. I also acknowledge the lead role that Dr Peggy Brown has played not just in the ACT but in Australia.

It was good to hear that the health minister has had in-depth discussions with community groups. We need to keep listening to community groups, because they are at the coalface of the delivery of mental health services. It is also important to look at having consumer-focused systems and not making the person fit the system. Yes, public-based services are about recovery, and we are not suggesting that these services are worse or otherwise.

I welcome the opportunity also to discuss the definition of community services. Who provides a service is an issue, particularly for consumers and carers. It may not matter how the service is provided. Quite obviously, the absolute focus is on getting services to the people who need them. But it does go very much to the issue of having a consumer-centred approach to mental health delivery. A key way this can be achieved, as has been recognised in Victoria, New Zealand and other parts of the world, is by building the capacity in the community sector and having services provided by that sector.

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