Page 1626 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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Again, let me draw to the attention of the Assembly that the President of the Law Society—I am not sure if he is somehow tainted in the views of the ACT Liberals—said today that the ACT’s existing laws already provide police with effective tools to fight serious and organised crime and that where anti-consorting laws have been introduced in other jurisdictions they have proven to be largely ineffective.

Let me also refer to the Bar Association, which strongly opposes the introduction of such draconian, unfocused and unnecessary laws. That is why we will not introduce such laws. We have worked with the leading expert across Australia, a man with decades of experience as a police officer, as well as the leading criminologist in the area.

Mr Coe interjecting—


MR RAMSAY: I note the specific recommendation that came from Australia’s leading expert, based on the evidence that is available—that is, that the ACT should not introduce anti-consorting laws. We will follow the evidence, not the fearmongering and scaremongering that is continually happening from the ultraconservative Canberra Liberals.

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, I have asked you not to interject, please.

Mental health—seclusion rates

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. Minister, on 21 July 2020 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released the latest round of data on mental health services in Australia. The data revealed that, from 2009-10 to 2017-18, the ACT’s mental health system had the lowest, or amongst the lowest, seclusion events per 1,000 bed days in Australia, and consistently well below the national average. For 2018-19, however, the ACT returned a rate of 10.9, which was the second highest in the nation, and almost 50 per cent above the national average. Minister, has there been a change in government policy about seclusion of mental health patients? If not, why did we see such a significant worsening in 2018-19?

MR RATTENBURY: There has not been a change of government policy during this period. I am concerned by those numbers. As Mrs Kikkert referred to in her question, we have seen a significant increase during that period. I have sought advice on this from ACT Health. It relates to a number of matters, including high levels of incidents with a small number of patients, if I can put it that way. I have sought further work to be done on this, including discussions with the oversight committee to examine the data further—not just to look at the numbers but to get behind the numbers and find out what is actually going on, as opposed to just focusing on the numbers themselves. The numbers tell a part of the story, and we need to look in more detail at why those numbers have risen in that way.

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