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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2835 ..

Mr Assistant Speaker, as you and others in this place have spoken about, Canberra is a city of busy people. But unfortunately falling sick is an unavoidable part of life. When we do feel unwell, or our kids scrape themselves on the playground, ACT Health provides easy access to effective and affordable health care. Nurse-led walk-in centres provide free, high quality, out-of-hours medical care for people who have cut their knee, who are down with the flu or who have an ear infection. These people can access fast and effective health care without an appointment, and do so closer to home.

The walk-in centres in Belconnen and Tuggeranong have proven exceptionally valuable. They provide the community with the health care it needs by filling the gap between first-aid treatment and GP consultation. By meeting the rising demand for free, convenient, and accessible health services, they also take the pressure off our GP clinics and hospitals.

Having had my own experience at the Belconnen walk-in centre a few times, I am now a loyal supporter. I am glad that this budget commits $2 million to open another walk-in centre in the Weston Creek region. I know, Mr Assistant Speaker, how much you are looking forward to that as well. I am truly excited that more people in the ACT will have access to this extraordinarily good service.

Our mental health is an important part of our wellbeing. It is why the ACT government is improving access to specialised care for those in need of support. The budget will be investing $157 million in mental health services, with $22.8 million over four years to provide more supported accommodation to support different mental health needs. The funds will be used to establish three new supported accommodation places for Canberrans requiring long-term, 24-hour support and for refurbishing the extended care unit at Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre for mental health patients transitioning into supported accommodation.

I absolutely support supported accommodation in our communities. I attended a consultation on a proposal for supported accommodation to be built in Florey a few months ago. I was delighted that the community by and large supported having supported accommodation in their street. I was incredibly touched by a story about some of the neighbours there. For privacy reasons, I probably will not go into it, but the need for this in our community is absolutely paramount and we are not ignoring that.

An amount of $3.1 million will be provided to the older persons mental health treatment service to support older members of our community who are being discharged from hospital, leaving residential care or experiencing problems with housing. The mental health of our younger population is also important to us. The stresses and strains of adolescence can often leave our youth struggling. We are committed to providing them with the support they need to recover.

I think it is clear that the health of our community is something that is very important to me. This, of course, includes our sexual health. It is 2018 and still the topic of sexual health has many of us blushing and stammering. I believe we need to speak more boldly and openly about sexual health when considering health care more broadly.

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