MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:42): In my contribution I will be brief. I want to begin by thanking all that have contributed to this debate this morning for their support for this important bill. As we know, the stigma around mental health has been with us for many, many years, and I think there has been a significant change in the general community in terms of calling it out and taking it out from behind the door that hides so much in our society. It is one thing to have that and make sure that the community does provide the support for those that are dealing with mental health issues, but it is also important to ensure that the community knows that the government is there, willing and able to provide the appropriate supports and resources that are absolutely necessary to prevent and treat the scourge of mental health issues. So again I thank members for their contributions today.
I also recognise those that make a contribution on a day-to-day basis. I thank all of the people that are in the mental health area, particularly the workforce that are dealing with this issue 24/7 and indeed the increased rate of people who have sought help in recent years and indeed recent times. I thank you for your commitment and your professionalism and your dedication.
I also want to give a shout-out to the former mental health minister, Martin Foley, who particularly led the charge in respect to our government response, but also Minister Merlino, who I think has been an exemplar when it comes to dealing with the issues of mental health and actually getting things moving.
To the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and their engagement with stakeholders and the community at large, I thank them for their amazing report and their dedication. Of course it has all brought about a response from government and has also brought this legislation before the house today. We consider this to be an important peg in the ground. It is the start of something that I think is going to be absolutely ingrained into the way that we deal with mental health in this state now and into the future. It will take time, but we are a government of action and today is actually a very significant day for those that really care about the promotion of mental health in this state.
Again I thank the speakers and thank everyone in the community who has made sure that this is considered to be a very, very important issue, and of course I am pleased, given the circumstances that we have all faced in the last week or so, that we now on this Friday at the end of the week can have a debate and a discussion around an issue that has plagued us for many, many years and that there is bipartisan support. I am very pleased to be in the company of people that really do care about this issue, and of course to those that are in the Department of Health and in the services who have worked on this bill, I thank you for all your hard work. I commend the bill to the house and look forward to the implementation of the contents of this bill and of course the further legislation that will come before this house.
Motion agreed to.