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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5101 ..


for mental health staff. We have an occupational violence strategy being developed, which I spoke about in my ministerial statement this morning.

As I said in my previous answer, the CEO of Canberra Health Services is now meeting with the nurse and midwifery union at least once a fortnight to discuss these matters on an ongoing basis and ensure that there is a clear line of communication, in addition to the lines of communication that are taking place at executive director level, as well as at team leader level on the ground.

MRS JONES: Minister, what are the circumstances unique to mental health staff that we need to deal with?

MR RATTENBURY: Mrs Jones, we face in caring for people with mental health disorders and mental health disturbances people whose behaviour can be extremely challenging at times. They exhibit behaviours that most of us would find deeply confronting on occasion. Sometimes that can be even worse. People will do unexpected things.

Those are the challenges that mental health nurses face. They use their clinical skills to manage people and they seek to pre-empt the possibility of violence but on occasions violence does occur. That is a constant learning process. It is often a constant learning process with a particular individual, let alone in a systems-wide approach. So it is incredibly challenging.

I respect the work that staff do. I acknowledge the particular risks that they face. That is why we need to make sure that we are constantly striving to ensure we have the best practices, we are learning from other jurisdictions and that we are learning from our own lived experience.

WorkSafe ACT—holiday season activity

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety. Minister, are we expecting to see any targeted engagement in workplaces in the lead-up to summer and the holiday season from WorkSafe ACT?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for his interest in workplace safety over the holiday season. The ACT government's message to employers this holiday season is clear. If you rush and cut corners on safety, you will be penalised. We want to ensure that all workers get home safely this summer.

We know that summer is a time when the number of risks increase, particularly when workers feel pressured to rush to complete work before sites shut down for the year. In addition, heat, fatigue and potentially the influence of alcohol around the festive season can impact people's judgement and therefore their safety.

Meeting a deadline is not worth an injury to a worker. Safety must remain the highest priority on all sites and workplaces at all times. So WorkSafe ACT inspectors will be continuing their workplace visits over these periods, including continuing their important audit work into young worker safety.


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