Page 539 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 8 March 2011

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Grandparent and kinship carers

Mental health

International Women’s Day

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.35): I want to start my adjournment speech by going back to the MPI and what was discussed there. Mrs Dunne did use her adjournment speech to bring up the issue of the grandparent funding which was an election commitment from the ALP. And then of course that was a great opportunity for her to have a swipe at me. She does like to have the occasional go and definitely has got a few swipes in today. One of the things she said was that we were not keeping an eye on the grandparent funding, which is an absolute load of nonsense and rot.

I did speak with one of the group yesterday at the awards for International Women’s Day which I was attending along with my colleague Ms Bresnan. Of course the minister Joy Burch was there to present some awards. I did not see anyone from the Canberra Liberals but I do hope to see some of them out there celebrating International Women’s Day and, in fact, this historic week. But I am not sure we will see any Liberals at these events. That does raise the question of commitment to issues around women.

But rest assured, Mrs Dunne, I will be following up on the issues of the grandparent and kinship carers funding. In fact, it was only after speaking with a member of the group yesterday that I asked my office yesterday afternoon to undertake some research into what has gone out to tender, where are we up to, and to be able to pursue that because there is money that has not been expended. It was around a failed procurement process. And that failed procurement process was around a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service plus some educational support. And I do want to know what is happening in that area. I do want to see definite progress.

Another thing I just raise is—my colleague Ms Bresnan actually pointed this out—again around commitments we made during the election campaign around mental health funding. It is something we put into the parliamentary agreement, and that was around 12 per cent of the health budget was to go to mental health. Ms Bresnan reminded me—and I am very pleased she reminded me—that she was actually at an election forum with Brendan Smyth, and Brendan Smyth stood up in front of all of those stakeholders and those individuals, those groups of people who attended that election forum, and he committed the Canberra Liberals to this goal of 12 per cent of health funding to be mental health funding. He committed them. He made the commitment at an election forum.

But what we have seen to date is, I guess, them howling down and attacking that goal of having increased funding going into the mental health part of that health budget.

Mr Hanson: How and when it is going to happen, Meredith?

MS HUNTER: Mr Hanson, you may want to take that up with your colleague who has committed the Canberra Liberals—

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