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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

Page.. 2462..


MRS JONES: Treasurer, will you now table the financial analysis undertaken by the government to justify the approach taken?

MR BARR: The sale is not yet complete; so it would be inappropriate for me, it would be breaching the probity arrangements that are in place for this sale. No, but once the sale is completed the government will, consistent with the amended resolution of the Assembly today, make further information available.

ACT public service—breastfeeding

MRS JONES: My question is to the Chief Minister. This morning it was reported in the Canberra Times that women at the ATO—the Australian Taxation Office—felt that they were forced to breastfeed and express milk in their cars or in the toilets, with many saying they are afraid of managers' responses if they push the issue. Chief Minister, are you able to guarantee that public servants in the ACT are not feeling forced to breastfeed or express milk in their cars or in the toilets?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. I think anyone who read that article and knows what it is like to look after a baby, care for a baby, would understand how distressing that could be and how inappropriate it is in a modern workplace.

I can say that certainly in the ACT government we have very good conditions in relation to lactation breaks. In most areas where it is possible—indeed I think the Assembly is accredited as a breastfeeding-friendly workplace; certainly ACT Health is, and I think there may be some other directorates as well—lactation rooms are made available for women. But I would be very disappointed, and I have certainly never had it drawn to my attention, that women are experiencing that sort of unacceptable situation in the workplace. If it was drawn to my attention it would be dealt with very promptly. Women should be supported when they return to work to be able to balance the collision that occurs between looking after young children and pursuing their career. We need to do everything we can to say that what is being spoken about in relation to the federal public service, if it is true, is completely unacceptable.

MRS JONES: Minister, what is the government's policy regarding breastfeeding and breast-pumping in the ACT public service. Is it a directorate by directorate approach or is there an ACT public service wide approach?

MS GALLAGHER: I will take that on notice. We certainly have conditions that are public service wide in the enterprise agreement. How that is operationalised would be different in individual workplaces just due to the nature of the different workplace environments. Not every ACT government employee works in a clerical position, for example, so I expect that there would be different operational implementation guidelines, but I can certainly come back to you on that, Mrs Jones.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Chief Minister, what consultation has been undertaken with women in the ACT public service regarding this issue?


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