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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 405..


MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Is it not correct, Minister, that, as a relatively junior employee, Ms Grayson has been designated as the one to take the fall for all of this problem?

MR STANHOPE: No, that is not correct. It is, indeed, a most insulting suggestion. It is to be regretted that this is what it comes to-that it comes to finger pointing, that it comes to the apportioning of blame, that it comes to the singling out of individuals to accept sole responsibility for what were, in effect, systemic failings. It really is to be regretted that the debate has been reduced to saying that we have picked out a number of people that we think it is appropriate for us to scapegoat. That is what you are doing. I think it is regrettable that we cannot focus on the issue here, namely, the determination to ensure that the systemic issues are dealt with, that we actually take the issues forward and focus on how to ensure that we in this community do deliver the disability services that should be delivered.

Hennessy House

MS TUCKER: My question is to Jon Stanhope as Minister for Health. It is in relation to Hennessy House and the secure unit there. What progress has been made towards ensuring that there are enough staff for this facility to open and accept clients?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Tucker for the question. The construction of the secure unit at Hennessy House was completed just after the middle of last year. The then minister for health, now Adjunct Professor Michael Moore, opened the facility on 28 September. It is ironic that the secure unit at Hennessy House has been formally open since 28 September but has as yet to take any clients.

The department of health has worked seriously to staff the secure unit. It was hoped that the unit would be able to take its first clients around 8 February. Regrettably, there is a dispute with the Australian Nursing Federation and the Health Services Union of Australia about some industrial issues-staffing issues-and concerns about safety.

Mr Humphries: Can you fix that, Jon?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I will fix that, just as I fixed the issue of the Canberra Hospital, which you, after 14 months, could not fix-another indictment of your government. Yes, we will resolve the issue; we will find a way through. We won't do what you did. We won't leave a festering sore and boil at the Canberra Hospital for 14 months in the way that you did. I am particularly hopeful that the first clients will be able to be housed at the secure unit at Hennessy House without much further delay.

Ms Tucker: I did not hear that last bit. When?

MR STANHOPE: We are working actively to resolve the issues of staffing levels and safety. I am hopeful that we can resolve those as quickly as possible so that the unit is able to take its first clients.


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