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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2833 ..


ACT Health in the chamber. Firstly, in the chamber that day I was very clear to say that I made no dismissal of the concerns that were being raised; and that in such a large organisation there were inevitably, unfortunately, going to be staff issues that arise. I have stated my very clear public position that the Greens have a zero-tolerance approach to bullying in the ACT, and I seek to work in my day-to-day job to bring that about as practically as possible through conveying a sense of transparency in making myself available to people where possible and being very clear with the leadership in the agency that I expect these matters to be dealt with in a fair, transparent way that staff can trust.

I continued the conversation with Mrs Dunne after we left the chamber as we walked up the stairs. I refute her characterisation of my comments that I was uninformed about the matters. I said to Mrs Dunne that I was unaware of some of the individual cases she had brought up in the Assembly, and I was concerned to hear about them. I then went on to have what I thought was a reasonable and mature conversation about the fact that we should perhaps discuss further that where cases are brought to Mrs Dunne’s attention we might find ways for them to be passed on to either me or the minister for health, or some other mechanism, so that they can be dealt with. If they simply come to Mrs Dunne and are not passed on, there may be no mechanism to address them. I was seeking to convey to her in a responsible way some desire to find a way to deal with these matters and to take them seriously.

The way that Mrs Dunne represented that conversation in the Assembly today underlines the fact that she will never miss an opportunity to grab some skerrick of perceived political advantage when it comes to these matters. I find that regrettable. I reiterate the comments I made in the conversation outside the chamber to Mrs Dunne that I am very open to trying to find a way to deal with these matters seriously and substantively because I accept the negative impact they have on our staff. I am committed to trying to deal with them, and I am disappointed in the way that that conversation was characterised today.

That said, I am very upbeat about the initiatives funded in this year’s budget in the mental health portfolio area. As I said earlier, they reflect inputs from the community, the expertise of the directorate and a very positive approach to dealing with the challenging issues of mental health that confront our community. I commend the investments in mental health in the 2018-19 ACT budget to the Assembly.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (11.57): Canberra is one of the healthiest cities in Australia. We enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world and we can expect to live many of those years in very good health. We have lower incidences of nearly all cancers, our kids have lower rates of obesity and our immunisation rates are well above the national averages. It is hardly a wonder that more people are moving here from interstate and overseas to study, work and raise their families, so much so that our population is set to increase by about 12,000 in the next three years.

The ACT government is ready. We are investing heavily in our health system now so that we can continue to deliver world-class health care for our growing population. Our doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health staff are the foundation of our health


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