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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 March 2015) . . Page.. 877 ..


appallingly slow. I know of one member who was suspended in July the year before and has been on suspension for about 90 weeks now. It is pathetic in the extreme. This minister is pathetic in the extreme for perpetrating this lie of a report. That is what it is. What we need to do if we are going to fix this is get the substance on the table. Otherwise it will never be fixed. The excuse is:

Ms Burch says the report, obtained by Fairfax Media, is so inflammatory and potentially damaging and dangerous to some individuals, including ambulance officers who spoke out in confidence, that she has been advised not to release it.

According to Ms Burch, if you speak out as an ambulance officer, you are at risk. That is what the minister said. Let me read it again:

Ms Burch says the report, obtained by Fairfax Media, is so inflammatory and potentially damaging and dangerous to some individuals, including ambulance officers who spoke out in confidence, that she has been advised not to release it.

What is she saying? Nothing has changed. “If you speak out, if you stand up for your rights, if you want to work for a better workplace, if you want to have a better ambulance service, just be careful because you’re at risk.” I do not know how we can have any confidence in this report. I do not know how we can have any confidence in this minister when she clearly expresses the sentiment that the toxic management culture continues and you should not speak out because you are at risk. (Time expired.)

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (5.55): I lost count of the number of times Mr Smyth joyfully, gleefully, said the word “toxic”. A blueprint for change has been supported by the TWU today; they are on record as saying they are happy to work with the government, ESA and ACTAS on this blueprint for change. Mr Smyth spent 15 minutes calling the Ambulance Service “toxic”, calling management “toxic” and describing the blueprint as “rambling”. He implied that the Commissioner for Emergency Services was forced to sign an executive summary. He penned it; he signed it; he owns it. And he will deliver on the blueprint for change.

It would seem that Mr Smyth—and I have been watching him all afternoon as he has been preparing for this—is immensely disappointed that we have a blueprint for change, an action plan, that will see this oversighted by an independent group comprising members of ACTAS, ESA, the TWU and an independent expert to provide me with three-monthly reports. He seems to be disappointed that I have stood up and said, “Change must happen.” To do anything else is just not an option. That is why we have this blueprint.

Mr Smyth, in those 15 minutes, not once recognised the growth in the great service that ACT ambulance provides to this community; rather, he wants to perpetuate the notion, the language and the image of our Ambulance Service being toxic. It is a good ambulance service. It is one of the best performing ambulance services in this country. It has had significant reviews—the Lennox review 2010, Lennox 2014 and the O2C report.


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