Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2022) . . Page.. 3206 ..
teams directly, about what would help to improve their wellbeing—at the individual team level, where half the funding is going to go; and also at the organisation and territory-wide level, which is the other part of the funding.
This funding is also being used to support a recruitment campaign for nurses and midwives across the country. This is exactly what the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has been advocating for. In meetings with me, we have talked through a range of things that they think we need to be doing. These include work force planning, which we committed additional funds towards in the budget, and significant territory-wide recruitment activities, which are being supported by this fund.
MS CASTLEY: Minister, do you expect the number of mental stress incidents reported by your staff to reduce as a result of your wellbeing fund; and, if so, by how much?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Castley for the supplementary question. Absolutely, the purpose of the wellbeing fund is to support the improvement in wellbeing of nurses and midwives. But this is not the only thing we are doing. Through the budget, we committed $7.2 million to the next phase of the Towards a Safer Culture strategy for nurses and midwives—co-designed with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, which is a partner in the delivery of that strategy—and to improve and expand occupational violence training, and to make some investments in physical infrastructure for the safety of our nurses and midwives.
So it is combination of all these measures. The Canberra Liberals constantly think you can do one thing and that that will fix the world. These are complex problems that require a combination of solutions, and we are absolutely focused on ensuring that the numbers of workplace stress incidents are reduced. Psychological safety for our work force is absolutely critical.
We know that this has been a very difficult time. We know that we have seen not only an increased work force strain as a result of staff absences due to isolation quarantine with COVID-19, and due to a range of other illnesses across the winter period, but we have also seen—and we have certainly heard anecdotally—that the stress and strain on the community of the last two years has resulted in increased occupational—
Ms Castley: I have a point of order, Madam Speaker. I asked about specific numbers. When you have a solution there should be some return on investment, and I am asking the minister what she expects that return on investment to be.
MADAM SPEAKER: I think the minister responded that there is no simple, direct response in answer to the question. I could have paraphrased you, Minister; I apologise.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you, Madam Speaker; I think you paraphrased that very well. I will just finish by saying that we are not alone in these matters. Across the country and around the world, people have seen this increase in occupational violence.