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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 March 2015) . . Page.. 820 ..

The government has awarded a contract to our head contractor to commence works. Richard Crookes Constructions was commissioned on 30 September last year. Members would be aware that the DA process was modified, through an act of this place, to ensure a timely decision on whether or not the project could proceed. Those processes have been completed. As I said, the former Quamby facility has been demolished. This work was completed on 19 February this year.

So we are moving forward in a very timely manner with the development of this important facility that will provide improved mental health facilities for those high care needs clients who are caught up in criminal justice matters as well, providing a suitable alternative to them being incarcerated in the AMC.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how will the secure mental health unit improve the ACT’s mental health care system?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary question. This will provide us, for the first time, with a dedicated, secure, 24-hour in-patient mental health facility for people involved with the criminal justice system, as well as civil consumers of general mental health services who pose an unacceptable risk in other healthcare settings. This will provide us with a 25-bed facility. It will provide individually tailored treatment, with programs that help to maximise the individuals’ functioning. The model of care is very much focused on integrating these services in the context of the broader ACT mental health framework and it is focused on recovery and supporting people to make the transition out of acute care settings into other appropriate settings, either in the community or elsewhere, as deemed appropriate by the courts, if the person is subject to a criminal justice process.

People admitted to the secure mental health facility will be cared for under the provisions of our new mental health treatment and care legislation, which was adopted by the Assembly late last year. That is a very important reform of our mental health treatment and care law: a contemporary, modern, up-to-date and much more nuanced mental health care and treatment framework to respond more specifically to the challenging issues that often arise with acute episodes of mental illness. This new facility will be a very, very important step forward in the delivery of a comprehensive range of mental health care for people in our community.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, could you tell us more about the services proposed to be delivered by the secure mental health unit?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for her question. It is important to stress that the types of behaviours that we will need to respond to and care for, in the context of the new facility, will include people with moderate to severe mental illness. Most commonly, we will see diagnoses such as schizophrenia and mood disorder with related psychosis—very complex and difficult behaviours.

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