Review of the Mental Health (Secure Facilities) Act 2016

The Mental Health (Secure Facilities) Act 2016 (the Act) governs the operation and management of secure mental health facilities in the Australian Capital Territory and came into effect on 21 June 2016.

The Minister for Mental Health is required to undertake a review of the operation of the Act as soon as practicable after the end of its third year of operation and present a report of the review report of the review to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Dhulwa Mental Health Unit, operated by Canberra Health Services (CHS), is currently the only secure mental health facility in the ACT and is therefore the only facility to which the Act applies. Dhulwa opened 22 November 2016 and provides care for some of the most vulnerable people in the community who may also be deprived of their liberty.

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that secure mental health facilities have the best possible opportunity to be safe, therapeutic places where people can achieve recovery. To achieve this purpose, the Act necessitates the balancing two competing demands. On the one hand, the need to ensure that secure mental health facilities are safe for all people within them including staff and mental health consumers. On the other, that any restrictions that are in place are necessary, proportionate, and not do not unduly restrict the rights of people subject to the Act.

Have your say

We’re seeking submissions about how the Act is operating. Please note that this is a legislative review and not a review of the general operation of Dhulwa.

The review commences on 23 March 2021 and closes at 5pm on 14 May 2021.

A briefing paper which provides key information to support you understand the Act and to prepare for the review is provided.

Your views will be used to inform the report that will be tabled by the Minister for Mental Health to the Legislative Assembly.

To be involved

We have developed a template for written submissions.

Please send your written submission using the template to

Guide for written submissions

The briefing paper provides an overview of the review.


Page last updated on: 25 Mar 2021