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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 November 2005) . . Page.. 4481 ..


course members can take it up in estimates and annual reports, which is their right. I would have thought that, if the minister were serious in his commitment to implement reform and allow the workers in the alcohol and drug program to do their job properly—and if he knew he was going to be successful and it had his backing—he would be down here with a quarterly report, because he would want to spruik about the changes that they had made, how they had picked up the good things, eradicated what might have been flaws in the previous system and were effecting real change for those who need alcohol and drug services in our community. But, no: “Members can follow it up as they see fit. I’m not going to make your job any easier. I’m not going to deliver the level of transparency that people are asking for, which prompted the original complaints to put in the public interest disclosure.” So, again, it is a limited sort of support for the notion that is put forward in this motion.

As you can see from what Maureen Cane says in her report, clearly senior management were aware of unrest inside the alcohol and drug services but really did nothing about it. Ultimately, that comes up the line to you, minister. If you are aware of these things and you do nothing about it, you are neglecting your ministerial responsibility.

The minister talked about ongoing oversight. Well, we will watch with interest. We will certainly take up the opportunity in annual reports and estimates in this place to continue to look at what is happening there, minister, but I suspect we will come back and revisit this issue. The way to avoid that, minister, is for you to stand up before this debate is closed and give a commitment to report on a more regular basis. If what you are saying is true, if what you are saying will be effective and if you believe what you have put in place will effect the change that I think everybody wants—to be able to look after the clients of the alcohol and drug services—I would have thought you would be really quite relaxed with the notion of coming back to this place on a quarterly basis and updating us.

Of the three reports that the minister mentioned, a number of the concerns were substantiated and others were not. But the point of this is that it is the implementation now. If we do not get a clear picture of the implementation and if you, minister, are not convinced that you are going to achieve this, I put it to you that that is why you are only going to come back here on an annual basis to give us the annual update on what is going on. If you seriously believe you are going to make changes that would lead to better service, you would be down here quarterly telling the Assembly of the good things that you have done.

The point of today is that the government did not act when all of this information was brought to their attention. The information was there. I am not apportioning blame on either side. One of the areas of the PID dealt with the workplace. The review is on either side, but nothing was done by senior management to effect the change there, and I wonder whether the new head of this service will find the same lack of support from senior management and will get the support that she needs to be able to deliver for the clients. That is something that we will watch.

We will support the motion because the government needs to handle the PID, the public interest disclosure, processes better so that things do not get out of control and so that issues can be addressed in a fair way. I do not think people are busting to go home at night, write down a PID and in the morning drop it in the office in-tray to start a process that for the majority of them—if not all of them—is incredibly difficult and has


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