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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 November 2014) . . Page.. 4079 ..


MR BARR: Elements of the city to the lake project—for example, the stadium, the time frame associated with a new theatre development and the time frame associated with new convention centre facilities. Those are three examples that we have already announced. We will look, in the context of the future capital works program, at a range of other projects, which I will not be announcing today as I want to save some interest for next year’s budget.

ACT public service—bullying

MRS JONES: My question is to the Chief Minister, regarding bullying in the ACT public service. In October Comcare reported to Senate estimates that the number of mental health claims lodged by ACT public servants in the 2013-14 financial year was 3.6 per thousand. This compares to 1.9 claims per thousand for the commonwealth. Chief Minister, why were the numbers of mental health claims lodged by ACT public servants so high and which directorates had the most complaints per thousand?

MS GALLAGHER: It is unusual that the ACT government is measured against the commonwealth government. We are the only state or territory public service that is included in the commonwealth scheme. A better comparison—I am not trying to avoid the issue here—is how we rate against similar public services providing similar jobs in those high stress industries like health, education, emergency services and corrections. When you see a measure of that, the ACT is often lower than other jurisdictions.

Also, mental health workers compensation claims have decreased in the past two years. The number of claims lodged is obviously a different measure to the number that are accepted as claims by Comcare, but we accept that we should be doing more to make sure there are even fewer claims lodged and fewer accepted by Comcare in relation to our own public service. A range of initiatives are underway to address that, including some of the work we have talked about: the RED framework, the code of conduct, the health and wellbeing policy, the policy on managing occupational violence, the ACT public sector performance management framework, counselling through the employee assistance program, New Access, which is the Medicare Local program that Mr Gentleman has recently promoted, and also participation in a trial of an online tool aimed at increased mental health awareness in the workplace.

I am not going to pretend that we would not like to see those numbers go down—we would. But I am confident that the administration is looking carefully at the rates of both lodgement and acceptance of claims and, where issues are identified, how to respond to them.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, what proportion of mental health claims lodged by ACT public servants was caused by or related to workplace bullying?

MS GALLAGHER: If I understand Mrs Jones’s question properly, it is about what mental health claims were related to allegations of bullying. I would have to see if that


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