Page 1243 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022

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A detailed human rights analysis is contained in the explanatory statement to this bill and I encourage all members to consider it, along with the bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Cain) adjourned to the next sitting.

Dhulwa Mental Health Unit—safety

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.57): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) on 5 April, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association (ANMF) launched a public campaign calling on the ACT Government to conduct an urgent inquiry into the operation of the Dhulwa Secure Mental Health Unit;

(b) the union said nurses had reported more than 100 physical assaults by patients over a six-month period to February this year with one nurse likening working at Dhulwa to being “sent into the killing fields”;

(c) nurses say they have pleaded with the Government to keep them safe and the Government has “failed” them over safety;

(d) staff turnover is high and nurses fear the Government’s failure to respond to their serious concerns poses “an imminent risk of a catastrophic event”; and

(e) violence has been an issue at Dhulwa since it opened. In 2018, several nurses reported being punched in the face and kicked in the head during multiple assaults by a patient and ACT Policing investigated;

(2) further notes that Minister Davidson:

(a) has been slow to respond to the nurses’ pleas for an inquiry and dragged her feet on the issue;

(b) told Question Time on 6 April she was “listening” to nurses and made a flippant remark, “He’s got my number. Call me, maybe?” referring to the ANMF branch secretary; and

(c) announced on 2 May the Government would conduct an independent inquiry into legislative, clinical and governance policies at Dhulwa; and

(3) refers to the Standing Committee on Health and Community Wellbeing the following matters:

(a) the adequacy of current security and staff safety arrangements to protect nurses at Dhulwa;

(b) staff numbers and roles/positions to ensure staff are safe and protected at work; and

(c) current protocols and procedures for staff responding to, and reporting on, incidents and violence.

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