Page 2605 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013
However, I make no bones about believing in genuine community engagement and consultation on new developments, and I stand by my comments that the frequent use of call-in powers in the ACT can at times detract from that engagement. That is why I believe that the drafting and debating of project-specific legislation is a better approach. In having project-specific legislation, there is a level of transparency about the fast-tracking that I think the community deserves.
Some might argue that having to draft specific legislation is a cumbersome way to speed a project up, and in some regards it is. But that points to the fact that this should be the exception rather than the rule. I believe that having project-specific legislation offers much better transparency than a call-in, because the Assembly will need to specifically consider the merits of shortening the process and weigh up all of the considerations for the community.
Of course, this sort of fast-tracking does not mean that community consultation should be completely excluded. Such legislation can be designed to allow community input, and also the efforts and attitude of government to taking on board perspectives from the public are as important as the text of the legislation. One can have all the written rules in the world but the spirit in which discussion takes place with the community in some ways is almost as important, and the willingness to take on board the comments and the concerns that can be reasonably addressed is something that any government must go into such a process with.
Project-specific legislation should not be about excluding public views, but rather providing for a definitive time frame. I note that in Ms Berry’s motion there is specific reference to this. The motion states that the Assembly agrees that appropriate, comprehensive community consultation continue throughout the project’s design, implementation and delivery phases. I think that is particularly important in the context of considering project-specific legislation.
With those few remarks, I simply underline my support and recognition of the necessity of this project and the need for it to be made available as soon as practicable. I underline, particularly in my capacity as the Minister for Corrections, the acknowledgement of the need for this kind of facility to provide us with the full spectrum of care for people in the ACT. On that basis I will be supporting the motion that Ms Berry has moved today.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (11.57): I thank all members for their participation in this debate, and I recognise that whilst all sides may have differing views on the way that the government should respond to an issue like mental health, we are all committed to providing support for those who suffer mental health illness and finding ways to reduce the rates of mental health issues in our community.
Mr Hanson’s speech today and his public comments over several years have shown that he understands the need for quality mental health care. Today I thought that the mythological creature, the nice Jeremy, was going to come out. But straight after that “I support this”, there is, in huge capital letters, a “BUT”. What he has shown today is