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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 September 2015) . . Page.. 3502 ..

seen on a regular basis at the AMHU, the Adult Mental Health Unit, continue? Will we end up not using all the beds in the facility, as we have seen at the Adult Mental Health Unit, because we either have a shortage of qualified staff or staff are off on stress leave or recovering from an assault? I understand that we are 17 full-time equivalents short in mental health now.

There are so many areas of concern that need to be addressed with the upcoming facility. I am concerned that people will be harmed, staff will be off on stress leave, and patients may be harmed by each other. I understand that that is not covered in this bill, but I hope that before the ribbon cutting of the secure mental health unit we will see some detailed plans of how those sorts of cases will be managed.

In conclusion, having spoken with many community groups, most are very comfortable with this bill. Many have indicated that we have taken our time in getting to this stage of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act passed a year ago, but there has been a great deal of work undertaken by very dedicated, policy-focused members of the department, who are in the chamber today, and with these bills and the changes that they have included we are moving into a mental health system more focused on recovery as far as possible and with the maximum number going on to lead the most stabilised and recovered lives as possible. This is an improvement.

In the efforts to get the best for mental health consumers, we must not fall into thinking that carers do not matter or that every single patient can live a completely stable life, because for some they will continue to need close support, often by exhausted, distressed and in many cases ageing parents who have for many years felt abandoned by a system which overemphasises privacy out of fear of prosecution. The culture must shift for the mental health of carers too.

We support this bill and thank all those involved in its detailed preparation.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.58): The ACT Greens will be supporting this bill before the Assembly today. I would once again like to indicate our support for the approach taken to date on the development and, most importantly, the consultation undertaken to arrive at this point.

The overall package of reforms to the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act, which this bill adds to and consolidates, has been almost epic in construction, and these works should be taken as an exemplar of how to engage with complex issues in the Assembly. The issue of mental health is of growing concern to many Australians, and policymakers and the community sector need to ensure there is regular and frequent engagement between the sectors to maintain the best approach.

The bill before us today in particular, and the accompanying explanatory statement and subsequent supplementary statement and amendments, could also be described as epic. The explanatory statement itself runs to 80 pages and offers the reader numerous citations and references, with almost as many footnotes as clauses.

I would like to note the time and effort that must have gone into the drafting of the bill and statements and acknowledge in particular the comprehensive review of human rights implications. Further, I appreciate the work of both scrutiny and the health

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