Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 301..
MR PRATT (continuing):
employed in the ACT with his questionable employment history in the Ambulance Service of NSW? Why is the recruitment process so flawed that it allowed him to be employed in the ACT? How could he be employed as a paramedic when he was qualified only as an ambulance officer?
MR WOOD: Although I did not see the Today Tonight program I am aware that it referred not only to Mr McManus; it referred also to two or three other people who were able to obtain employment by providing fraudulent documents and wrong advice. Mr McManus was employed as a paramedic in the ACT because the referees who were routinely telephoned to obtain information about him did not tell the truth. Members would be aware of the recruitment process. Referees are routinely telephoned and sometimes they are required to respond in writing. I understand that that is fairly standard procedure. I agree with the sentiments expressed earlier by Mr Pratt. We should be able to obtain accurate advice from referees when we are appointing paramedics.
Mr McManus was appointed for a probationary period. However, his drug-taking record became known before the completion of his probationary period and he was immediately dismissed. This issue raises significant concerns for all employers, in particular the ACT government. In a sensitive area such as this we will have to review the way in which applications are screened in the ACT. The Department of Emergency Services is now considering what course of action to follow in the future. We have to determine whether referees' reports are made in writing or whether they should be asked to make a statutory declaration. We have to ensure that their reports are accurate and reliable.
MR PRATT: I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister confirm information that I have received that Mr McManus was also employed as a nurse in the ACT hospital system?
MR WOOD: I am not aware of that issue, so I can neither confirm nor deny it. I will seek information from Mr Corbell and establish whether or not he is able to advise the member. In response to an earlier question asked by Mr Smyth, and after having gone through my mental filing system, I am aware of some activity relating to indemnity. I will obtain those details for the member.
Mr Pratt: Will the minister confirm whether or not he will resolve the issue to which I referred earlier?
MR WOOD: Yes.
Kaleen horse paddocks
MS DUNDAS: My question is also to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, I understand from the plans for the Gungahlin Drive extension that it will go through the current Kaleen horse paddocks. Once the road has been constructed, and during construction, will the government permit horse owners to continue agisting horses on the existing paddocks?
MR WOOD: Ms Dundas, I cannot answer that question. I know there has been considerable discussion over a long period about groups or householders who believe they are affected by the new extension. I have been there and surveyed where the road is