Page 2417 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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and it is an important item in the parliamentary agreement. This funding will enable ACT Health to develop and implement a range of appropriate care planning tools, including establishing a mobile clinic. It will be a relief to many elderly patients and those with chronic illnesses, and their families, over coming decades.

I commend the continued growth in community mental health funding. Mental health has been an item in both the 2008 parliamentary agreement and the current one. Serious mental health issues are a continuous problem in our community, and it is key that we continue to support the community sector to deliver these important services to the broad range of the community in need. The $4.1 million appropriated in this budget will help with expanding community mental health services, including supporting people leaving the Alexander Maconochie Centre. We will continue to monitor mental health funding over the parliamentary term.

I applaud funding to establish a public obesity management service. Obesity is a significant problem in our community and will need to be a focus over coming years if we are to help people have healthier, happier lifestyles. The Greens are highly aware that preventative health management programs not only improve people’s health but also reduce the pressure on our hospital system, as severe obesity can contribute to many chronic but preventable illnesses.

This budget also commits to $1.7 million for mobile dental clinics for 2013-14. This is commendable, as dental health is key to people’s overall health and can make a huge difference to people’s lives. This is why the Greens have fought so hard federally to gain funding for Denticare.

In the same vein, the Greens are advocates for a mobile primary health program, and we look forward to working with the government to develop this program in future years. We know that mobile services such as these can make the difference between some people seeing a doctor or dentist at all.

In conclusion, there is much more to the budget and not enough time to comment on everything today. I look forward to the estimates process and subsequent debate for exploring these issues in more detail. As I indicated in the discussion on Tuesday, my intent is now only to participate in the debate about the appropriation bill in my portfolio capacities and to use today’s remarks as the analysis by the Greens of this budget.

Overall I think that this is a budget that is fiscally responsible. The commitment to return to surplus during this current parliamentary term is important. In a number of public remarks and my comments today, I have stressed the necessity of having a balanced budget over the economic cycle.

The budget also plans for the future in the things that it is funding, in starting to make some of the major decisions that will make this city more sustainable, more liveable into the future. I commend the budget to the Assembly.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.44): Mr Assistant Speaker, what a difference a year makes. It seems like only yesterday that the ACT Treasurer stood here in this chamber

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