Page 609 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 22 February 2012

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Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: that this government went to the election on, Mr Smyth.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth! You are skating on thin ice, Mr Smyth.

Canberra Hospital—mental health unit

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health and is in reference to the mental health unit. In a question taken on notice in estimates hearings in 2011 it states that the original completion date for the mental health inpatient facility is September 2010. In the Northside Chronicle in December 2009 you are quoted as stating that this facility will be complete in September 2011. In January 2012 you stated that this facility is “nearly complete”. Minister, why are ACT residents still waiting for this facility that was originally meant to be completed 16 months ago?

MS GALLAGHER: As the leader of the—sorry; I was going to call you the leader of the opposition there for a moment. It is getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, isn’t it—a bit Freudian that little slip-up. Sorry; I do apologise, Mr Hanson.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Gallagher—the question—

MS GALLAGHER: I am sure Mr Seselja has your complete, undivided loyalty.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Gallagher, the question, thank you.

MS GALLAGHER: That was a genuine slip-up but it had a rather entertaining side effect.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: I always know when all six of you start shouting at me that you really must not be enjoying yourselves.

MR SPEAKER: Let us proceed with the question, Chief Minister.

MS GALLAGHER: I welcome the opportunity to talk about the adult acute mental health inpatient unit at the Canberra Hospital. As members would be aware, this project has been long in the planning and in the delivery. Indeed, when we came to government and looked at the state that the psychiatric unit was left in by the Liberal Party, and subsequent inquiries to that, it was clear that a new inpatient unit was required.

We have done the planning work. The original intention was to have the adult acute inpatient unit co-located with a forensic facility; that was the project that was agreed to. At the beginning of that project it became clear for a number of reasons, including the views of consumers, that the secure unit would be best located elsewhere, so the project was reorganised at that stage.

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