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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3753 ..


Just a week or so ago, I got an answer to a question from Minister Fitzharris that I put on notice about equipment having gone missing from Canberra Hospital. I was told in the answer that no equipment costing more than $5,000 had gone missing. But I have it on what I would regard as very good authority from more than one source that equipment costing more than $5,000 has gone missing—indeed, that it has been stolen. Added to the deed, there was extensive physical work done to cover up the path of evidence.

I wonder what Minister Fitzharris would think, and indeed do, if she discovered that the answer that was drafted for her signature was false. But for me, the question goes deeper. Is this just the tip of the iceberg? How much other false information has been given to Minister Fitzharris? A board of inquiry might expose the authors of that false information, but Minister Fitzharris wants to protect their personal and professional reputations.

And what of administrative corruption? How many jobs have been given to people not qualified to hold them? How many jobs have been re-engineered to fit a particular person’s qualifications? I know of at least one, and there may be others. I know that both Minister Fitzharris and Minister Rattenbury have been apprised of the allegations in this case quite recently.

Then there was the letter that was sent to all members of the Assembly, as well as the media, in which claims of fraud were made in one service area of the Canberra Hospital. Do we need to protect the professional and personal standing of people who have been involved in this kind of behaviour, Madam Speaker? Minister Fitzharris seems to think so.

If we want a positive culture, a positive future for ACT Health, for its hardworking staff, for its long-suffering staff, for its patients and their families, and for the international and national reputation of ACT Health, we need to find the truth. In finding the truth, we need to set out a path of reconciliation. That path will lead to healing, the sort of thing that Minister Fitzharris says that she is interested in. Healing will not come about unless we identify the cause. A board of inquiry is not a witch-hunt; it is a way to truth, reconciliation and healing for our sick health system.

ACT Health is sick, and it is crying out for help. That is a why a board of inquiry will provide help and healing. It is the view of the AMA, the ASMOF and the Visiting Medical Officers Association that this is the cure that ACT Health needs. The government has failed all of these groups for too long. It has failed the staff. It is not enough. I commend to the Assembly my motion for a board of inquiry to be established into ACT Health’s culture of harassment and bullying.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Medical and Health Research, Minister for Transport and Minister for Vocational Education and Skills) (10.50): I would like to thank Mrs Dunne for bringing forward this motion today, as it provides me with the opportunity to clearly outline why the government will not be supporting a board of inquiry into the health governance structure, workplace culture and industrial practices of ACT Health.


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