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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3500 ..


underway to consider whether arrangements could be put in place to enable those, particularly for people who are accessing health services.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, how was the current fee arrived at?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take this question on notice because my understanding is that we are not actually charging fees at free government testing sites. I have heard a number of times that people have been told that they can get their test result if they pay for it, but that is not the advice that I have received. I think there are some mixed messages here, and I will take the question on notice so that I can come back to the chamber with some clear advice about that. I know that we are working on setting up some arrangements that would enable people to pay in certain circumstances, and that we are also looking at those arrangements for people who are being asked by health facilities to get a test before they undertake a planned admission.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, is it your intention to provide a fee-free COVID test service for those people who may be travelling interstate or who may not have symptoms?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: We do not currently have any intention of providing a free service for people who are not being asked to go and get tested or are not being tested for a public health reason in the ACT.

Access Canberra—services

MR CAIN: My question is to the Minister for Business and Better Regulation. Minister, in answer to a question following recent estimates hearings, you confirmed that Access Canberra currently has 105 telephone and face-to-face service delivery staff out of a total of 705 full-time equivalent employees. Of that total, only 54.5 full-time equivalents are delivering services face to face. These shopfronts have reopened recently and there has been a surge in demand from Canberrans who need to complete transactions in person, with very long wait times at Access Canberra shopfronts. Minister, it seems that you did not do any planning or preparation in anticipation of high levels of demand when Access Canberra reopened. Please explain why you did not do that.

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Cain for the question. We did cover this quite extensively in yesterday’s select committee hearing, but I appreciate Mr Cain was not present. I reject the premise of the question, Madam Speaker. Access Canberra has done an incredible amount of planning, pivoting, reorganising and moving resources to where they are needed. We did do an enormous amount of preparation for our shopfronts, noting that the shopfronts are still subjected to the density limits. That was previously one per four-square metres when they reopened. It is now one per two. At Gungahlin, where we have a much bigger footprint, or floor print, that does mean that all of our counters are able to be open, but at our other shopfronts it means that some of the counters are closed to accommodate that.

We have been advising the community that if they do not need to attend a shopfront, there are many transactions—hundreds—that they can do online. There are only a


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