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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 115 ..


experience of those in the training is broader than simply the 20 or so people referred to in the report. However, I understand that that is the purpose of the report that we are referring to; therefore, there is no problem with defining it as those in the basic physician training program, as per the report.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (4.21): The government will accept Mrs Jones’s amendment to my amendment. We did discuss my amendments with her office, but that is fine. I think we can all agree that any prevalence of burnout and exhaustion experienced by any junior doctors is unacceptable. It was really just to clarify that, given that we are talking about a specific report, we are talking about a specific cohort of junior doctors. Mrs Jones has accurately, in her amendment, identified that cohort of junior doctors, so we will support her amendment.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (4.22): I will speak in general terms to the amendment, and in closing. I thank the minister for her clarifications. She will be aware, as many here are, that this is a new role for me. There are various people in new roles in the chamber today. I thank her and the government for supporting the motion. It goes to the very basis of how we treat those employed by ACT government.

There are definitely improvements to be made. One of the things that I was glad to hear in the minister’s speech was the list of things being done. One of the things that is lacking in this debate in the public domain, and certainly in relation to some of those working in the health system that I have already spoken to, is: what exactly is happening, and how exactly is it changing anything?

Certainly, the grabs that we are able to give on media—and possibly the minister is, too—are so short that it is difficult to get that broader picture. I would love to see the employees of Canberra Health Services have hope restored that things will improve for them. I think that the government has mishandled this area over many years. The minister possibly is now trying to fix it; we will see.

I am very interested to hear that Dr Nick Coatsworth has seen what he believes to be an improvement, but that may not be matched by the experience of those on the ground. I know that the minister has access to very important and very knowledgeable experts, but the experts that I rely on in my portfolio work are generally people in the lower orders of things who tell me about their day-to-day experience. I take that extremely seriously, and that is what I will constantly bring to this place.

I thank the minister for the explanation of some of the changes—awards, a workplace resolution service, a consultative framework, a steering group, a staff network for ATSI personnel and their care, an ATSI reference group, the CHS occupational violence task force, and various other things that I was not able entirely to note down. I look forward to going through the Hansard in some detail.

One of the things that I can say about this area is that the internal reputation of those trying to make change is not great at this point. I have been inside the hospital many times. I know many people who work in the hospital. Many constituents from my


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