Page 249 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

MR STEEL: I thank the member for her question. I was recently out at Yerrabi Pond—not that long ago—with Ms Orr to launch a street art project there that had been undertaken by one of our fantastic local Indigenous artists. This is part of a program, as part of our graffiti management, where we work with community groups who are interested in brightening up areas—often spaces that are subject to vandalism—where we can help prevent vandalism through the use of a mural or other street art installations. There are opportunities there and TCCS can assist groups who may be in need of paint, for example, to be able to undertake that and to get approval for those artworks to be installed. I definitely encourage community groups to come forward and talk to our graffiti coordinator.

COVID-19 pandemic—workplace safety

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety. Minister, what role do rapid antigen tests have in assessing and managing health and safety risk in the ACT?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Paterson for her interest in the safety of workers. Across the ACT, rapid antigen tests play an important role in keeping our community safe. They have been vital in our response to the latest outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to keeping people at work safely.

Canberrans and Australians have become familiar with the health orders and the public health framework that have been used to keep the community safe during the pandemic. Our work health and safety laws also exist to keep people safe, and they have been extremely important during the pandemic. The work health and safety framework operates separately to the health framework, but they frequently overlap and interact.

In the workplace, rapid antigen tests can be used as part of a risk management program to control and monitor COVID-19. They also make up part of a suite of control measures that can be used to mitigate risk in the workplace. Rapid antigen tests are being used in different ways across the ACT government workforce. Our frontline services in Health and Emergency Services are using them to maintain workforce capability and manage the heightened level of risk involved with public-facing work.

Our nation-leading program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre has meant that staff there are able to continue working in the isolated environment while staying safe. Of course, rapid antigen tests have been vital in ensuring that our children, teachers, support staff and cleaners can safely return to school. In all of these workplaces, and across the wider ACT public service, the risks of working through a global pandemic are being managed.

There has been a mammoth effort in the last few weeks by officials, volunteers, unions, industry and the wider community to keep these programs operational. I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has been involved in the process of keeping our community safe.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video