Page 1577 - Week 05 - Thursday, 5 May 2016

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Finally, an amendment has been prepared following the passage of the Workplace Privacy Amendment Act 2016, which was adopted by the Assembly earlier this year. Both Minister Rattenbury and I consider that public surveillance is an area that should be considered holistically. To accommodate a broad review of civil surveillance, the bill defers for two years commencement of provisions in the Workplace Privacy Amendment Bill 2016 which regulate covert surveillance of an employee outside the workplace. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Mental Health (Secure Facilities) Bill 2016

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Capital Metro, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present this bill to the Assembly today. In introducing the bill, it should be clear to all that the reason for its presentation is the physical development of the new secure mental health unit for the ACT. The secure mental health unit is due for building completion in late 2016 and represents a $40 million capital investment in the ACT’s health infrastructure. It will be a 25-bed facility that provides secure mental health care for people who cannot be safely cared for in any less restrictive environment. It is worth emphasising this point: the secure mental health unit will be a necessarily restrictive environment and no-one who can be safely and appropriately cared for elsewhere will be admitted.

The development of a secure mental health facility has been discussed in the ACT for more than a decade and its building represents a clear addition to the configuration of health services in our community. The absence of a secure mental health unit has, over recent years, been identified as a clear gap in the ACT mental healthcare system.

The secure mental health unit’s development supports a very important principle which is of central importance to the ACT as a human rights jurisdiction; that is, people who may have offended, or be at risk of offending, with severe mental illness should be cared for in a facility with a therapeutic framework at its core. The secure mental health unit will provide us with the best opportunity to provide appropriate evidence-based, multidisciplinary care to the very small number of people who cannot be cared for safely in any less restrictive environment.

The development of the unit, with its unique mission, is an important and positive development for our health services and for the community as a whole. Legal advice

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