Page 3504 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 September 2015

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I will end with a note that legislation of this nature requires a strong and transparent implementation program, and that communication not just with peak bodies but with the broader community, and in particular affected health consumers and clients, will be essential. I look forward to an engaged ongoing dialogue with the community on the progress of the changes to be implemented as a result of this bill, and I commend the Health and Justice and Community Safety directorates on their openness and consultative approach.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (12.03), in reply: I thank members for their contributions and support of this bill today.

Before I make some further comments, I present the revised explanatory statement to the bill. The statement makes some minor editorial and formatting corrections to the original one I tabled on 4 June this year with the Mental Health Bill 2015. As members have noted in their comments, I will be moving some minor and technical amendments to this bill during the detail stage. They are the result of recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety in its scrutiny of bills role.

The bill does see significant enhancements of our mental health law through new clauses and amendments of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994. It also provides for the consolidation into a single, contemporary statute of these new clauses and amended provisions and the clauses of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Amendment Act 2014. The resulting new legislation, the Mental Health Act 2015, will contain all the reforms that arose from the review of the current Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994 initiated by the government some time ago.

As members would recall, that review was led by an advisory committee comprised of a wide range of stakeholders, including people who have experienced mental illness or disorder, their carers, representatives from a range of public sector organisations that routinely serve people with mental illness or disorder and their carers, such as the Public Advocate’s office, the Human Rights Commission, the ACAT, ACT Policing and the ACT Ambulance Service, as well as community sector mental health organisations and ACT Health health providers.

The committee thoroughly consulted the community and partner government directorates. As a result, two government bills were prepared based on the committee’s advice. The first was the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Amendment Bill, enacted by the Assembly last year; the second is the bill before us today.

The enactment of this bill, should it be adopted by the Assembly, would repeal the current act, transition the orders and processes already in train under that act into ones that operate validly under the new legislation, and bring the amendment act provisions together with the new act’s amendments and new clauses.

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