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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3851 ..

MADAM SPEAKER: Minister Gentleman, please refer to people by their proper names.

MR GENTLEMAN: The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Coe, thinks that all Canberrans want to have their 2.3 children and live in the suburbs. Not every Canberran has the same conservative wish that he does. Just as many Canberrans want to downsize as want to upsize. Our planning strategy, combined with our decreases in stamp duty, mean that it is easier for Canberrans to choose the housing that is right for them.

Canberra Hospital—security

Members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Are we all going to control ourselves now, members? I will seek a question from the floor.

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, how many people in custody receiving treatment in the Canberra Hospital have escaped or tried to escape in the past two years?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take that question on notice. Obviously we may not be aware of all the instances in which people have tried unsuccessfully to abscond when being accompanied to—just the Canberra Hospital or was it both hospitals?

Mrs Kikkert: Canberra Hospital.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take the detail of the question on notice.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, what level of risk to other patients, hospital staff and the general community have these escapes posed?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the supplementary question. Just last week or the week before there was one attempt of a detainee to abscond from police custody. In fact, I do not think it was a detainee; I think it was someone who was in police custody, but I will check that. That was a dangerous situation in which one wardsperson and a member of the public were injured. That is, of course, very concerning, and we are obviously aware of at least one other situation. An occupational violence strategy has been developed—we have talked about this in this place before—to ensure that staff are well supported in managing the general issue of occupational violence.

I will come back to the Assembly with further information on the specific matters that Mrs Kikkert raised, but of course it is a concern when people try to abscond from custody and put other people at risk. Again, this is one of those issues that has to be managed across health systems; it is a reality of life that detainees and people in police custody may occasionally attempt to abscond.

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