Mr KNOWLES (Macquarie Fields—Minister for Health) [2.16 p.m.]: Last Tuesday I had the great pleasure of launching National Mental Health Week in New South Wales. This morning, at a building site in Sydney, I launched a major fundraising drive amongst trade unionists, construction workers and the building industry for specific research by NISAD into schizophrenia. In less than half an hour a $10,000 donation by Baulderstone Hornibrook was matched by subcontractors and workers as they passed the hat around.
These are just two of more than 300 events that are occurring statewide as part of National Mental Health Week involving thousands of carers, clients, non-government organisations and government employees. Mental health problems affect one in five Australians. By the year 2020 depression alone will comprise one of the greatest health problems worldwide. The focus of National Mental Health Week is to encourage the bipartisan efforts of all governments throughout Australia to destigmatise and raise awareness of mental illness. I urge all members to take part in and support the statewide activities.
Mrs SKINNER (North Shore) [2.17 p.m.]: I am very pleased that the Minister has used a ministerial statement to raise the issue of National Mental Health Week. As the House may be aware, I had sought to have this matter debated as a matter of public importance. Because that did not occur, I intend to move a motion a little later today because of very serious allegations that have arisen in relation to the Morisset Hospital in the Newcastle area. I refer in particular to a newspaper article published today under the headline "Inhumane", which depicts a photograph of a sedated patient lying on the toilet floor asleep. The Minister should take the opportunity to set the record straight if he does not believe that these photographs are legitimate. However, he refuses to allow these matters to be debated. I would have been happy to move a motion, but I am sure the Minister would not have supported it. I commend industry for donating to awareness of mental health and hope that the Minister will address the other issues I have referred to.