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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1768 ..

Needle-stick Injuries

MR BERRY: My question is to the Chief Minister, through you, Mr Speaker. Does the Chief Minister recall her halcyon days in opposition, when on 5 October 1994 she issued a media release criticising the Education Department for dragging its heels in its response to a needle-stick injury in a school playground? Given a recent similar incident in which a five-year-old girl received a needle-stick injury from a discarded syringe at a playground at an inner city block of flats, is she still concerned at the lack of government action?

MS CARNELL: I would like to hand that to the Minister responsible.

MR SMYTH: I might answer that, Mr Speaker, or do you want to answer it, Mr Moore?

Mr Moore: No, you can. He certainly did not get it right asking the Chief Minister.

MR SMYTH: I will have first go and Mr Berry can ask a supplementary question of the Minister for Health. On 20 July this year ACT Housing received advice that the five-year-old daughter of tenants who reside there in the large flats had been stabbed in the eye with a syringe. I think that ACT Housing acted most efficiently and appropriately. The entire incident culminated in a public meeting at which I believe Jon Stanhope was the only MLA present. It was hosted by Don Allan. Did you go, Mr Moore?

Mr Moore: I had representatives there.

MR SMYTH: You had representatives there. Approximately 50 residents of the complex attended. ACT Housing is working cooperatively with all relevant government agencies and the tenants to try to ensure, as far as we can, that these incidents do not happen again.

MR BERRY: That is good. I reckon now I know whom to ask. I would like to ask a supplementary question. May I ask it of the Minister?

MR SPEAKER: You most certainly can.

MR BERRY: That one over there - the Minister for not much.

MR SPEAKER: I am feeling benign, but standing orders also allow it.

MR BERRY: Minister, in view of the public concern, after the recent incident, that government agencies did not appear to have any coordinated response to the issue of discarded syringes, can you say what action you have taken to develop some sort of coordinated response to these sorts of incidents? Have you heard any expressions of concern about this from the Chief Minister, who was in the past quite concerned about these matters?

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