Miller to refer Springborg to police

By Jamie McKinnell

Queensland Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller will refer former health minister Lawrence Springborg to police over allegations he lied to an estimates hearing about the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre.

The centre, which was the only facility providing long-term inpatient treatment for young people with complex mental illnesses, was controversially shut down in January 2014 under the former Liberal National Party government.

Within eight months of the decision, three former patients had taken their own lives.

A commission of inquiry report into the matter, released publicly on Monday, found serious flaws in the decision-making process and said warnings about the risk associated with transitional arrangements for patients had been ignored.

Ms Miller used the opening day of the 2016 budget estimates process on Tuesday to also highlight the inquiry concluded the Barrett decision was made on July 15, 2013, by then-health minister Mr Springborg and a West Moreton health board head.

Nine days later, Ms Miller asked Mr Springborg at an estimates hearing: "Would you guarantee that the Barrett Adolescent Centre will not be closed, downsized or privatised in any way?"

"In his response, the minister said 'It is true that the Barrett Centre is under review'," she said.

"For the benefit of the members of this committee, that the report proves, in fact, that the then-minister for health Lawrence Springborg lied - oh, I'm sorry, fibbed or told untruths - to the estimates committee and because that is a breach of the criminal code I'll be writing to the appropriate authorities."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there were "very key flaws" in the decision-making process, including questionable record keeping

"It also shows in the report there was a lack of communication in that decision making," she said.

"I still firmly believe the centre should not have been closed down without a way forward for the families."

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