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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 1983 ..

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: There seems to be an interesting debate about this question going on on the other side of the house. Mr Whitecross has a view about this, but he is not prepared to listen to what the Chief Minister has to say. Can you ask them to remain quiet?

MR SPEAKER: I uphold Mr Kaine's point of order. This is an important question. It is a matter of concern in the community. I am well aware that interjections are sometimes attempted, to drown out whoever is speaking. I would ask members to listen quietly to the Chief Minister.

MRS CARNELL: As I said, Mr Speaker, these arrangements included the possibility of training staff at the youth centre - something Mr Whitecross had a go at - and the provision of special disposal containers which would regularly be collected and emptied by Sharps Unit staff. I imagine that Mr Whitecross believes that these suggestions by the Sharps Unit are nothing more than an absolutely disgraceful attempt to improve the general safety of staff at the centre and visitors, both young and old, who might want to go to the Griffin Centre. What a shock, Mr Speaker! Fancy wanting to make the environment safer for everybody there!

Mr Speaker, I am advised that the people at the youth centre, like Mr Whitecross, did not want to consider these suggestions and actually hung up on the Sharps Unit during the conversation yesterday. So, where does that leave Mr Whitecross, Mr Speaker? One would have to ask that question. I think it is important at this stage to quote from Mr Whitecross's media release of yesterday. He said:

There was no advice given to staff at the centre as to what they should do with the sharps they find, and no mention of training so that every member of the staff will know what to do with the sharps and how to dispose of them safely.

That is Mr Whitecross's media release, Mr Speaker. He went on to say:

Mrs Carnell must reverse this decision immediately, and make sure that nothing so irresponsible and plain dangerous happens again.

All I can say is, "Well, well, well, Mr Whitecross. Wrong again". If you had bothered to check your facts before you got stuck into public servants the way you did, you would have found that training options were discussed by the Sharps Unit. Needle receptacles were suggested. The discarded sharps have already been picked up. There never was any decision not to continue providing the service to the youth centre.

The only person who would stoop to the lowest level of political rhetoric is Mr Whitecross over there - Mr Whitecross, who was more than happy to get stuck into public servants who work hard, who are doing their job and who are attempting, of course, in this situation, to do it even better. Mr Whitecross is determined to get out there into the media and to accuse this Government of not giving a stuff about picking up discarded needles in the streets. The only person who has been irresponsible here, and plain dangerous, is Mr Whitecross. That kind of scaremongering

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