Page 2146 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2022

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Services, I immediately contacted Canberra Health Services and asked them to make contact at a very senior level, which they have done, to offer a meeting with the family at that senior level. My understanding is that the family did have the contact details of another senior staff member, a medical staff member, with whom they had had interactions and with whom they were familiar. The contact information for that person had been passed on to the family should they require it. Recognising the family clearly did not feel appropriate support and contact had been made, I have asked for that contact to be from the most senior level of the organisation. This is why the Chief Operating Officer has written to the family and offered a meeting with the family with the Chief Operating Officer or the Chief Executive Officer if they would like that. Of course, if the family would like to meet with me, I would be very open to that.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, why was the family not offered a debriefing before now?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Again, that was not my understanding. I am very happy to have a conversation with Ms Castley about this. I recognise and I understand Ms Castley has met with the family. The family has not sought to meet with me. But again, if they would like to, I would be very open to that. It was my understanding that the family had received some support, and I had been briefed on that, but I do not want to have a conversation about that publicly, in this place. I recognise that the family are expressing their experience, and they are free to do that, and absolutely my sympathies are 100 per cent with them. If there is anything that they need, I would strongly encourage them to reach out to my office, to respond to the Chief Operating Officer and to reach out to them. It is my understanding the family has contact details as well for social workers. I would strongly encourage them to reach out to the contacts that have been provided to them to seek that support. It is available to them.

MR HANSON: Minister, why did you use an ABC article to express your condolences rather than contacting the family yourself?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: People experience terrible events in different ways. They grieve and respond in different ways. I do not have a personal relationship with the family. I do not know the family. I am a stranger to them. I have not been invited to reach out to them and they have not contacted my office. I would find it very weird—I think I would find it weird—if I were in these circumstances for someone I didn’t know to reach out to me. I am very open to speaking with the family, if that is what they want, but for a stranger to reach out to someone who has just lost a child, I did not believe that was an appropriate thing for me to do. But, of course, if they want to talk to me about their experience, I would absolutely want to listen to what they have to say.

Dickson College—safety

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Minister, in June this year WorkSafe ACT officers closed parts of Dickson College due to areas being unsafe and unhygienic. They issued three further improvement notices throughout July. Last week the Canberra Times reported those parts were still closed under the headline, “Faeces, urine and black mould: parts of Dickson College still closed”. Minister, how was a major school in the ACT allowed to get so bad it was issued four WorkSafe orders for issues with faeces, urine and mould?

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