Page 590 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022
I also have regular meetings with the Chief Health Officer and her team. The Chief Health Officer is currently on leave. Until recently they have been daily meetings. They now occur three times a week. In terms of the number of meetings that I have had and that, while I was away on leave, the acting minister had, we have those meetings regularly.
We talk about the data but we also talk, very importantly, about what we are actually doing and seeing and how the response is being managed. Some of these pieces of data are being presented as being fundamentally critical for decision-making in a public health response that simply are not fundamentally critical in the context of making decisions about the public health response. So I think there is that conflation of those issues as well.
MR CAIN: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Business and Better Regulation. Minister, in the past week several Canberrans have called the Canberra Liberals, distressed that they could not pay fines owing to Access Canberra, due to a failure in the call-back service offered by your government. One constituent waited four days to receive a call back before they were forced to go to an Access Canberra shopfront for fear of the fine being paid late. Minister, do you think four days is an acceptable time frame for Canberrans wishing to access basic Government services?
MS CHEYNE: We are aware that there is an issue with the call-back service. It has been identified to us and we are working through it. I appreciate that that may have been a distressing experience for the constituent that Mr Cain has flagged, but we are working through what is happening in that situation. I do not have an update at this stage.
MR CAIN: I have a supplementary question. Minister, is it appropriate to force Canberrans to interact with government services through Access Canberra in a way that is not in line with their preferences?
MS CHEYNE: I think I need to reject the premise of the question. Access Canberra provides a range of ways for people to engage with it, and the call-back service is just one of those. We do have our service centres and we do have our contact centre. Wait times are down, generally, across the board for our contact centre and for our service centres. Of course, Canberrans can pay online, as well.
MS LAWDER: Minister, why doesn’t Access Canberra have appropriate resources to meet public demand?
MS CHEYNE: Access Canberra does have appropriate resources to meet its demand. In fact, Access Canberra’s resources have grown in the past year, and in previous years as well. There have been more than 20 people engaged at our service centres, and more than 35 people engaged at our contact centre that was brought on recently. We need to train people, which takes time, but Access Canberra’s resourcing is appropriate. As has happened across the city, Access Canberra has been affected by