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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1387 ..

beds. I know that there are mixed views about this in the community. I have had representations as well around concerns about whether that is actually the case—that there is demand there but the beds are not there. This is a decision that Calvary took in terms of managing their overall hospital, but we certainly work closely with them to make sure that if there is demand for their services and they are overdelivering—indeed, I imagine every public hospital in Australia is currently overdelivering on what their budget actually is due to record levels of demand—we work with Calvary to resolve those issues, as we currently are and will do in the lead-up to the budget.

Social workers—stress leave

MRS DUNNE: My question goes to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, yesterday I asked you to advise the Assembly whether a number of social workers within care and protection had gone on stress leave on or about the same time. You were also asked whether any of those who had gone on stress leave had done so because of workplace bullying and whether those included people who were recruited from the United Kingdom. You undertook to make inquiries of your department. Minister, what inquiries have you made in relation to this matter and what did you find out? If you have not made any inquiries, why?

MS BURCH: You saved me having to stand up at the end of question time in response to your questions and the supplementaries. The answer is no, no social workers in care and protection. Your question was: “Are there social workers out on stress leave?” The answer is no. Social workers in care and protection, like other staff in the ACT public service, are entitled to recreation leave but there is no pattern of social workers taking personal leave at or about the same time over the past six months.

Allegations of bullying are something that I take very seriously and I strongly encourage Mrs Dunne or indeed any member of this Assembly that has any information on such allegations to let me know. I can assure all members that I and the department would welcome any such information, and, if received, it would be referred to an independent body for investigation. So let me be clear: my office and the department do not tolerate bullying or harassment in any form and, if there is any information, it will be responded to quickly and comprehensively.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, in your answer to my question, you talked about personal leave. Minister, did a number of social workers take sick leave on or about the same time?

MS BURCH: I think the answer is no. There is no pattern of social workers taking leave at the same time in the last six months.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a question without notice?

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