Page 2603 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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built, health ministers, and, I believe, the mental health service system, will appreciate the fact that we have got it right. It will be an incredibly hard service to run; it will be an incredibly hard service to staff. We do not have the staff available to staff that. We will have to train our own staff because of how hard it is to get people into these positions.

There is a whole lot more work that will need to happen as we build infrastructure to provide this capacity. It is the final missing piece in the service system across the mental health system here. And we will get it right. A 25-bed medium secure facility at the Quamby site, with a revised budget, is the right way to go, and it will last this community into the future.

I note Mr Hanson listed concerns around reports of violence in the adult mental health unit and incidents at the jail occurring because we do not have this. I would caution against that. The adult mental health unit will always be a place where staff are going to have to manage at times aggressive and unstable people, regardless of whether there is a 25-bed medium secure facility over the hill, and the jail will have to manage people. So I do not think it is fair to link incidents, and it is not helpful, because when this service actually establishes it should not and will not be a dumping ground for people who are inappropriately placed there. It cannot and should not. We need to be clear about that from the beginning of this project.

In terms of project-specific legislation, there are further discussions that need to be had about the type of response or how we approach that—whether project-specific legislation is most appropriate, whether we should look at the model that was followed under building the education revolution, whether there are other ways to have a reduced timetable for the delivery of this project.

I am very hopeful now that if everything lines up, this service can be operational in 2016, but there is some more work to do, not least of all in attracting and retaining staff who are suitably qualified for a facility like this. I cannot underline how difficult that is going to be, and the money that will have to go into doing that over the next few years.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.50): I thank Ms Berry for bringing this motion before the Assembly today. The issue of appropriate care for people with mental health concerns has long been at the forefront of the concerns of the ACT Greens. My former colleague Amanda Bresnan was a staunch supporter of the need for increased funding, evidence-based practice and the vital role that community service providers can play in providing the best response to what is an increasingly large and complex issue.

This passion for caring for vulnerable people led to near-record expenditure on mental health in the term of the last Assembly, and informs the relevant items in the current parliamentary agreement between Labor and the ACT Greens. Item 5.4 calls for $35 million in new funding to mental health related services over the term of the Assembly, including specifically the construction of a secure adult mental health unit.

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