Secure mental health facility gets green light

Canfan 3 June 2014

The development of a secure mental health facility in Symonston will be able to be given priority, with new legislation passing through the ACT Legislative Assembly today, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, has announced.

“I am pleased to see this vital legislation passed through the assembly today, which will fast track Territory Plan and assessment processes for the facility, which is a much needed service for Canberra residents,” Mr Corbell said.

The community will still have an opportunity to comment on the proposal through both a development application process as well as a modified Territory Plan process known as a ‘special variation’.

“If approved, the facility could accommodate approximately 25 beds and will provide services for low and medium security patients,” Mr Corbell said.

The bill was presented to the assembly in May in response to a motion late last year, where the assembly confirmed its support for the facility to be constructed on the former Quamby Youth Detention Centre site in Symonston.

The project will now be able to use the concept of a special variation to the Territory Plan, which will minimise delays to the project as it moves through the proposal and assessment stages.

“The facility would fulfil a critical role in the treatment and rehabilitation for community members who suffer from mental illness, providing a secure residential care accommodation and creating a controlled and safe environment for treatment.”

If approved, residential care at the proposed facility could be provided to people who are, or were, subject to a mental health order under the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994.

The Planning and Development (Symonston Mental Health Facility) Amendment Bill 2014 will take effect in the coming weeks.

Following the passage of the bill a draft variation to the Territory Plan will be prepared by the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate for public consultation. For more information on the proposed facility visit the ACT Health website

(Simon Corbell Media release)

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