Mental Health Report

07 Nov 2005 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question about the HREOC report.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The report commissioned by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission entitled ‘Not for Service: Experiences of injustices and despair in mental health care in Australia’ was released on 19 October. Indeed, the minister herself made a ministerial statement in response to that, in which she misquoted statistics. My questions are:

1. What input did the minister have into the state government’s response to the report?

2. Does the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse fully support the official response of the South Australian government to this report?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): The South Australian government’s response to the HREOC report obviously went through cabinet, and I was aware of it. I do not have the report in front of me, but as a cabinet we pointed out that, whilst this state still has some way to go, we are addressing all the issues as quickly as we possibly can. I will not reiterate all the history that the member continues to talk about, because what I want the member and, indeed, everybody in this chamber to do is to work on the issue of mental health in a bipartisan way. We are prepared to take advice and to listen.

In relation to the HREOC report, the honourable member may also be aware that ‘Paving the way’, the review of mental health legislation in this state, to a major extent addresses all of those issues. We have committed to progressing that legislation. A lot of consultation has already occurred in the community. I do not believe that there would be sufficient time to introduce the legislation this year, but we are committed to that legislation and indeed progressing it.

I understand that it is out for further consultation even now.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Does the minister agree with all of the comments that were contained in the government’s response to the HREOC report?

The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO: Yes. It went through cabinet; I do agree with it.