Page 3681 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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workplaces safe. These reforms include establishing an industrial manslaughter offence under the remit of our work health and safety laws; strengthening our legislative arrangements for managing exposure to respirable crystalline silica; and streamlining access to workers compensation for first responders, such as paramedics, firefighters and emergency services communications officers within the ACT public sector who have sustained post-traumatic stress disorder.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the scrutiny committee for their careful consideration of the bill and the amendments it contains. In response to the committee’s comments, I table a revised explanatory statement to the bill.

The government will always stand up for working people, and we will do everything we can to ensure that ACT workplaces are safe. The significance of this bill cannot be ignored, and I want to acknowledge those who have come into the chamber today to watch this debate. I have heard your stories and understand the important change this will have for you. I want to thank you for your advocacy and the work you do to keep people safe at work.

I am confident that this amendment bill will contribute to these objectives. I thank members for their contribution and look forward to their support in passing this bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 11.35 am to 2.00 pm.

Questions without notice

Hospitals—emergency department waiting times

MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, each annual report since you became health minister has mentioned strategies that you have used to try and improve wait times in the emergency department. However, the Report on government services shows that, each year that you have been health minister, the ACT has had the worst wait times in the country. For each year since 2017-18, less than half of patients have been seen within clinically recommended time frames, whilst the national average has been more than 20 per cent above the ACT’s. Minister, how much money have you spent on reviewing the emergency department since you became minister?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will have to check the Hansard; I think Ms Lee is only referring to one emergency department, as if we only have one hospital in Canberra. Of course, we have two emergency departments in Canberra. Both operate on quite similar models, and both of them have experienced challenges around their waiting times. With respect to both hospitals—I will bring up some numbers, if I can—

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