A New Mental Health Act for Tasmania Thu 21 June 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, today tabled a Bill in Parliament to introduce a new Mental Health Act for Tasmania. The Mental Health Bill 2012 aims to bolster the rights of mental heath consumers by ensuring that treatment for people with a mental illness reflects a human rights approach. "The Bill represents a significant improvement in the protection of the rights of mental health consumers in Tasmania," Ms O'Byrne said. "It also has the potential to make Tasmania a leader in the development of mental health legislation. "The Bill balances consumer rights with the need for the treatment and care of people with mental illness. "The important role played by carers and family members of people with a mental illness is also recognised." Ms O'Byrne said the Bill recognised the ability of individuals with capacity to make their own treatment choices while enabling treatment to be provided to people lacking capacity where this is necessary for their health and safety or the safety of others. "The new legislation would prevent a person with mental illness being treated or detained against their will if they have decision-making capacity," Ms O'Byrne said. "It would also establish a single independent Tribunal with authority to make decisions about both treatment and the treatment setting. "The Bill recognises the difficulty associated with making decisions of this kind and proposes that treatment and treatment setting decisions should be made by an independent Tribunal comprised of legal and medical experts. "In addition, it proposes these decisions should also be regularly reviewed within mandated timeframes." Ms O'Byrne said the Bill was developed with feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including consumers, carers and clinicians. "This highly consultative approach has involved extensive public consultation and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed for their valuable input. "The Bill has been developed to reflect the issues and concerns raised by the community." The Minister thanked the members of the Advisory Committee and Drafting Committee which have overseen the process of developing the new Bill.