Page 3835 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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I simply reiterate that my answer to this question is that the government’s relationship with the Greens is expressed through a parliamentary agreement that we freely and willingly entered into with the Greens, which we respect and which we will implement.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Hargreaves! Mr Hanson, you have had a question.

Mental health—services

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, today the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its report Mental health services in Australia 2006-2007. Can you please advise the Assembly of outcomes relevant to the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. Today, the AIHW released the 2006-07 Mental health services in Australia report. This report highlights the excellent service provided by ACT Health and the community health sector to the Canberra community. The report provides information on trends in the provision of mental health services nationally and locally and provides a detailed overview of Australia’s mental health services in 2006-07.

Nationally, expenditure on state and territory mental health services increased by an annual 5.6 per cent between 2002-03 and 2006-07, to $3 billion. In 2007-08, there were 20 million mental health related prescriptions subsidised by the PBS, accounting for just over one in 10 of all prescription claims, costing over $700 million.

As I have reported in this place on a number of occasions, spending on mental health has progressively increased under this government from $27.4 million in 2001-02 to $77.7 million in 2009-10, representing an increase of 183 per cent since coming to office. This continual increase in funding is a very favourable result for the ACT and is a further indicator of our government’s long-term commitment to mental health reform in the ACT. The report shows that the ACT had the highest number of service contracts per patient, at 34.4 per 1,000 population—evidence that the Mental Health Service is delivering best practice care to its clients in response to their identified needs.

The ACT has one of the highest rates of community-based residential beds per 100,000 population at 22.3, with the national average resting at 10.4. This bed capacity in supported accommodation includes government and community operated services, 24-hour and non-24-hour staffing, and services for older persons.

While not highlighted in the report, the ACT also has the highest number of mental health supported public housing places, with 34.4 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 17.9, and is the leading jurisdiction with the highest funding percentage of total mental health spending on the non-government sector.

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