Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 Mr Dale: No, you h~ve only got one. Mr TUXWORTH: Mr Speaker, if the minister will be patient, he will have plenty to talk about when I am finished because I will give him plenty to talk about. He has a reputation for having reduced mental health services in the Northern Territory to an absolute mess, and the staff of the Department of Health and Community Services are appalled at the conditions under which they have to work. The honourable minister would have us believe that things are going well. I would like, however, to pay a tribute to those people in the minister's department who work under very difficult conditions, trying to provide good services to those people who can be helped with the resources available. The reality of mental health care is that there are so many degrees of mental disability that it is not possible to put out a 25-page statement announcing half-a-dozen major priorities and say on that basis that the government has taken care of the mental health of the people of the Northern Territory. That is absolute nonsense. The minister knows it and everybody in the community knows it. What the minister has praised himself and his department for in his statement today may well be true. Many good things may be happening and it is obvious to many people that some certainly are. But there are shortcomings. Pretending that they do not exist and that the people who complain about them are just a bunch of political carpetbaggers is the height of cynicism. I will read into Hansard a letter to the minister from a group of people in Tennant Creek. It goes hand-in-hand with the document read out a moment ago by the member for MacDonnell when he was making his point. These are not isolated cases. There is a continuous, running sore of cases which have nothing but neglect to identify them. This letter is written by a group of concerned citizens: church people, departmental. people, health care people, people who deal with the handicapped, Aboriginal people and other members of the community - I think even the police force is involved in it. These are people who are concerned about the situation. My dear Minister, We, a group of concerned citizens, wish to draw to your attention the current appalling situation regarding the plight of disabled persons in Tennant Creek and the Barkly region. The facts are the human rights of intellectually, behaviourally and physically disabled persons are being grossly violated. We urge you to act immediately to provide assistance in accordance with the principles of the 1986 Disability Services Act so that disabled persons can attain a reasonable quality of life with respect for their human worth and dignity. In the short term, this can be achieved through: 1. the allocation of further attendant care places for Tennant Creek; 2. the funding of the HACC proposal by Anyinginyi Congress as a matter of urgency; and 3. providing accommodation as a short-term strategy. In the long term, . these objectives can only be attained by establishing full residential care facilities in Tennant Creek. A special meeting of agencies who are involved in the delivery of 5572

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