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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2495 ..


and harassment in the ACT health system to the Assembly on its merits. I encourage people to support the staff in ACT Health by supporting this inquiry.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (11.27): I want to start by acknowledging that Mrs Dunne’s motion raises some very serious issues. Noting this, I wish to put on the record my and the government’s position that there is zero tolerance for bullying in any ACT workplace. Every person has the right to feel safe, supported and respected at work, and that is the culture that we are striving to deliver right across ACT government directorates.

In particular, Mrs Dunne’s motion highlights the potential impacts on mental health that can come from bullying. As the Minister for Mental Health, I am acutely aware of the potential consequences. In fact, tonight I will be speaking at an event run by Mental Illness Education ACT to launch their new bullying prevention program. It is a great piece of work which is looking to reduce the impact of bullying for young people in the ACT. These kinds of messages are important for people of all ages, and I am pleased to have another opportunity to reinforce our zero tolerance approach to bullying here in the Assembly today.

Having said that, it is somewhat disappointing to be here today addressing a motion which talks a lot about past issues and does not recognise work that has happened over recent months or the many positive changes that are occurring in ACT Health. Minister Fitzharris, as members would be aware, is not here today because she is attending a COAG meeting in Alice Springs and she had to leave Canberra earlier this morning. She gives her apologies for not being able to be here for this but, obviously, it is difficult to be in two places at once. I know that she recognises the seriousness of this issue, and also shares my optimism about the changes that are happening in ACT Health and the improvements that are being made.

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing and I take the issues of workplace culture very seriously. In discussion with ACT Health executives, we have deliberated on workplace culture and how best to ensure a healthy and safe workplace for all where issues of workplace culture can be reported, investigated and acted upon when they arise. Let me take the opportunity to assure members, both personally and on behalf of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, of the efforts being taken to address the issue with the importance it deserves.

Minister Fitzharris has stated publicly on many occasions, and in this place, the no-tolerance approach that ACT Health takes to workplace culture issues, including bullying. I recognise that there have been cultural issues within ACT Health in the past and that in a workforce of over 7,000 people there will inevitably be instances that come up in the future. But the proposal that Mrs Dunne has put in her motion does not recognise the significant work that has already taken place in ACT Health to address cultural issues. It also does not recognise the number of existing complaints and investigation mechanisms that are available to staff, patients or any member of the public who has concerns about issues in our health system. That is why the


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