Page 2847 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 October 2022

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This year’s budget continues to increase the size of our public health system workforce to help ease the pressure on our committed and incredibly valuable staff, and to continue to increase and improve public health services for Canberrans. New initiatives in this budget include boosting our allied health workforce on Canberra Hospital campus with more than $16 million over four years for more Aboriginal liaison officers; audiology, nutrition and dietetics; exercise; physiology; occupational therapy; physiotherapy; psychology; social work; and speech pathology workers.

We are investing in better specialist health services for children and young people, with $4.8 million committed over four years for the establishment of a neuro-developmental and behavioural assessment and treatment service, and also a GP-led multi-disciplinary outpatient clinic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young adults.

And more than $12 million has been committed to improving public maternity services in the ACT through Maternity in Focus, our plan for the future of maternity services, for the implementation of the first action plan, the expansion of the special care nursery at Calvary Public Hospital and to develop the capability at Calvary Public Hospital Bruce to care for women with gestational diabetes who require insulin. We will also employ more nurse practitioners at our walk-in centres, with more than $3 million to have a nurse practitioner available on every shift in Belconnen, Tuggeranong, the inner north-west and Gungahlin. (Time expired.)

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the record investments that are being made into our health system and how they will support a safer workplace and improve wellbeing?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: During this National Safe Work Month, I am pleased to outline how the government has delivered a budget that is focused on delivering a safer, more collaborative workplace, and a plan for the future of our health workforce. Through a $7.2 million investment, the government is working to deliver continued improvement of culture across our health system, with increased funding for the next steps in the Nurses and Midwives towards a Safer Culture strategy and more occupational violence training. This program triples the initial investment, but is designed by nurses and midwives for nurses, and midwives and in partnership with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

As members would be aware, the government is also investing $8.75 million further to the budget to codesign supports and improve wellbeing across the health system and our health workforce. We know that it has been incredibly tough for many years, and this initiative means that the government can assist and support staff to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, promote ongoing practical wellbeing initiatives in the workplace, and support recruitment and retention. This is starting with a national nurses and midwives recruitment campaign that has already commenced.

We also recognise that planning for our future health workforce needs is critical. That is why, through this budget, the government is investing in delivering and implementing a system-wide health workforce strategy developed in partnership with unions, professional bodies and our education partners. Engagement on the strategy is underway, and will set out what our health system will need to deliver on the ACT

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