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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 14 September 2017) . . Page.. 3743 ..

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, how much of the $500,000 allocated in this year’s budget will be used, and what will it be used for?

MR RATTENBURY: Madam Speaker, I was actually asked a question about this by Ms Lee in the chamber yesterday, and I took it on notice. I was planning to answer it at the end of question time, as is normal practice, but I will take the opportunity now.

I can confirm the answer to Ms Lee’s question yesterday, which was:

Minister, how much of the 2017-18 budget appropriation of $500,000 has been spent so far on the office of mental health initiative, on what has this been spent and will the full amount be spent this financial year?

The answer is this. Only three weeks after the passage of the appropriation bill, as I suspected, none of it has been actually spent at this point. The funds will start to be expended by the end of October 2017. I expect that approximately the full amount will be spent by the end of the financial year. Of course, it may be a little less or it may be a little more; that is the nature of these things. But that is the budget we have for this financial year.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what was the target date for the opening of the office for mental health when the budget was developed?

MR RATTENBURY: I am just trying to think of the answer to that. Certainly, when the policy was announced during the election campaign there was not a target date because, as I stated in the press in the last few days, I held the view then, and I still hold the view, that it is important that we have this conversation with the community, that we actually speak to all of the stakeholders, who have a great deal of expertise, both within government agencies and outside government agencies, and that we take the time to get this right. So whilst Mrs Dunne has offered her views on how I should feel about myself, I do not share that analysis.

Opposition members interjecting

MR RATTENBURY: The irony, from my colleagues in the Liberal Party, having regard to the style that they run in this place, when they actually walk up to people and say, “Are you okay?” is actually quite striking, considering the way they conduct themselves in this chamber on a regular basis. Nonetheless, I have been very clear that the target date for the office for mental health is 1 July 2018. That was certainly the basis of my thinking when we were putting the budget submissions forward.

Mental health—R U OK? campaign

MS CHEYNE: My question is also to the Minister for Mental Health and it follows perhaps some of the comments that the opposition were making across the chamber. Minister, what is the ACT government doing to support and promote the R U OK? Day campaign?

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