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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 10 March 2016) . . Page.. 966 ..

My anecdotal advice is that the ACT has caught up very well since then, but I am looking for more than just anecdotal advice; I am looking for hard data, and that is why I have asked the education directorate to give me quite rapid feedback in that space so that I can identify whether there are further steps that need to be taken by government or whether in fact the data shows that we have caught up, as we might expect to.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, when will you expect that information from the department, as to what the government can do to reverse these trends?

MR RATTENBURY: Ms Lawder has conflated two different things but, certainly, I will be looking very closely at the data that she and Mr Doszpot have cited today to identify what further steps might need to be taken. There are a range of measures already being put in place but, of course, this is an area where there are constant new research and new ideas. The ACT should be at the forefront. This government has an expectation of having an education system focused on excellence, making sure that we are getting the best possible educational outcomes for our students and making sure that those students who are struggling get the supports they need to get good educational outcomes.

Mental health—services

MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you please outline how the government is supporting people with mental health conditions, including the types of services that are available?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Burch for her question and I am pleased to take the opportunity to speak about the range of mental health services that are available in the ACT. As a Labor government, we are committed to providing the best possible mental health services to our community.

Our services are delivered by a mix of providers: GPs and allied health staff, including social workers, mental health nurses and psychologists. We have a diverse range of community sector mental health providers as well. I am pleased to report that this financial year the government is investing nine per cent of our record $1.5 billion health budget on mental health services.

According to Australians for Mental Health, just seven per cent of health spending nationally is on mental health. So the ACT government, spending over $133 million on mental health services in the ACT in this financial year, including $6 million in new funding to expand and improve services, is well above the national average for health expenditure across all the states and territories.

Our principles for funding and delivering services are pretty simple ones: they are recovery-oriented; they are focused on being delivered in the least restrictive environment; they are human rights oriented; and they are planned and delivered with extensive input from mental health consumers and their carers.

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