Page 2606 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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that he does not yet understand the responsibility that comes with government to ensure that complex issues are responded to in considered ways. Designing a mental health system that meets the needs of patients takes time.

Anyone who has a friend or family member suffering mental illness knows that a person’s condition changes rapidly and their support requirements can move from subacute to crisis in a matter of days. Mr Hanson talks about this motion as if the secure mental health facility in the ACT is the only thing that the ACT government is doing to address mental health issues in the ACT, and it is simply not true.

Mr Hanson: No, I did not. What you are saying is not true. That is not what I said.

MS BERRY: In Mr Hanson’s speech he indicated that the ACT government is doing nothing, is sitting on its butt and is not doing anything to address the very serious and very complex issues that people in our community—

Mr Hanson: That is not true.

MS BERRY: Well, you have just said it, Mr Hanson. But the ACT government has been doing much more than that. In 2010 a mental health assessment unit was opened. In 2009 there was the adult step-up, step-down residential facility. Just this year there was the youth step-up, step-down facility. In 2012 there was the adult mental health unit at the Canberra Hospital campus and the community mental health teams.

In terms of funding, as I said before, the ACT government has committed more than $55 million to mental health community service organisations between the 2008-09 and 2012-13 financial years—the time frame that Mr Hanson was referring to in which the ACT government was doing nothing.

Having seen the impact of good, integrated and flexible care in the lives of friends and family with mental health issues, I am proud to be part of a government that has taken its time to make sure that the responses we offer meet the needs of the vulnerable community members who access it. As the Chief Minister said in her speech, as a government we have been building and strengthening our mental health system, both by providing services particularly in subacute care and by ensuring that the infrastructure we invest in will provide the right foundations for those programs over time.

As I said earlier, the construction of a mental health facility in the ACT is the next important part of the territory’s mental health system. I am pleased that the Assembly has ensured that the government can expedite its construction and treat it like the priority that it is. I will not be supporting the amendment and I commend the original motion to the Assembly.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.

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