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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (16 September) . .

Page.. 2731..

MR CORBELL: When the final business case is released.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, why is the government spending $783 million on a light rail project while school classrooms are over capacity and education infrastructure is decaying?

MR CORBELL: This government is committed to investing in health, education and better public transport and supporting those home owners who are facing real challenges as a result of the asbestos legacy issues left to us by the commonwealth. Those are the government's priorities. We spend over half of our budget each and every year on health and education for the citizens of Canberra, and we are going to continue to make that investment. But we also need to make an investment in better public transport for our city and for our community.

Over the last 10 years, we have spent over $700 million on road infrastructure in this city. To suggest that we are not able to make a similar commitment to better public transport belies the facts. The fact is that we can invest in better public transport; we can invest in the type of infrastructure we need to shift more people out of their cars and onto public transport; we can invest in infrastructure that gives people more transport choices and lays the foundation for a better transport system for our city. Those are the decisions this government is committed to taking.

Canberra Hospital—adult mental health unit

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on 10 September this year the Canberra Times reported that within the adult mental health unit there has been an increase in the number of attacks on staff over the last 12 months. It has also come to light that a provisional improvement notice was issued on the facility by WorkSafe in July. Minister, why is staff safety so at risk that a provisional improvement notice was issued and why has there been an increase in the number of attacks on staff within this facility over the past 12 months?

MS GALLAGHER: I acknowledge Mrs Jones's interest in this matter and see that we will be debating this subject at length tomorrow. In short, I do not think any of us here can understand the workplace that is the adult mental health unit and the work that is required to be done—

Mr Hanson: You don't understand your own workplace?

MS GALLAGHER: What I am saying is that I do not know how many shifts you have done in a psychiatric unit. Let us not underestimate the workplace and the nature of the work that is required to be done. And I am not diminishing staff concerns here. I am saying that I cannot think of a harder workplace in which staff work, the nature of the work, the risk that staff place themselves into in order to keep other people safe—people who are very unwell and traumatised and who require professional and clinical help in order to support them.

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