Page 4069 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

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I seek leave to make a brief statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MS BRESNAN: I thank the Assembly for this opportunity to formally place on the public record an ACT Greens discussion paper on mental health reform. People living with a mental illness deserve assistance not only to survive a crisis but also to maintain their wellness. If governments are able to deliver mental health services that are sustainable, they are wise to invest in the recovery of their clients, thus preventing a revolving door usage of mental health hospital beds.

The ACT Greens propose that it is time to reform mental health services by addressing the underfunding of mental health services and delivering a greater percentage of funding towards prevention and recovery services via the community sector. The strong engagement of communities through the expanded use of community sector services characterises the world’s most innovative and progressive mental health systems. These principles of action are reflected in the parliamentary agreement the ACT Greens made with the ALP after the 2008 election. My life, my community provides proposals on how we can move towards the goals in the parliamentary agreement of 12 per cent of health expenditure being for mental health services and 30 per cent of the mental health expenditure going to community-based and community-run services.

The paper identifies current gaps in ACT mental health services that when filled will assist in providing a mental health service that focuses on the consumer and promotes their mental health. Areas for action include housing, daily living support, health services, community-based crisis assistance, economic and social participation, advocacy and legal assistance, advance agreements, assistance for carers and wrap-around care.

The paper was developed partly in response to the ACT government 2009-10 budget. Fiona Tito-Wheatland of Enduring Solutions undertook consultations, first, with the Mental Health Consumers Network and the Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT. On 19 June 2009 we held a public forum on the issue, which was attended by around 50 people passionately interested in a better mental health system for the ACT. With the feedback from that forum and using further research, the paper was prepared.

My life, my community drew together the Greens’ vision for mental health reform with a vast body of policy and research from across Australia and the world. Most particularly, this paper sought to reflect the express views of consumers and the mental health community sector. Since the paper was launched in July we have had a second release of the ACT government’s mental health plan. I welcome the plan on its release, given its consistency with the ACT Greens’ principles for mental health reform.

The overarching focus of the government’s plan on prevention, recovery, peer support and better integrated services appears to reflect the work that the Greens have been

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