Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2011 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
I am pleased to say that, as a result of the Stevenson report, which I note the coroner comments on very favourably, the department has implemented a large number of the coroner's recommendations and others are in process. There were several other recommendations which appear to me to be very sensible on the surface and which the Government, naturally, will look at very closely. The coronial findings will be thoroughly scrutinised and appropriate action will be taken in any area not yet addressed.
MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, are you aware that there appears to have been no formal approach to the family of the young man, other than a casual meeting in the precincts of the court building, either expressing regret at the circumstances of the death or expressing sympathy to the family in their bereavement? Do you understand that to be the case? If so, what might be done to make up for this?
MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for that supplementary question, too. Indeed, I think you have been speaking to a member of the family to whom my office was also speaking this week. I was not aware of that, Mr Wood. I would expect that common decency in these matters would mean that some person in authority in the department would do that and that it should have been done at the appropriate time, which would have been very soon after the death. Normally, in instances where that occurs, both in my department and in others, I understand that counselling is offered, services are offered and at least some contact is made by relevant officers.
I understand that that did not occur in this case. I treat that very seriously. Whilst it is very late in the day now - we are talking about nearly three years after the event occurred - I intend to have steps taken to remedy that. I am happy to do anything that is necessary to - - -
Mr Wood: Go out yourself.
MR STEFANIAK: If need be, Mr Wood, I might well do something like that. Something should have happened in 1996. I must say that, as far as I am aware, that is something that normally happens in my department in such instances. Why it did not happen in this instance, I cannot say, but I am certainly aware of it and I will pass it on to the senior officers of my department. I take a very dim view of the fact that it did not occur in this situation. I would not expect that ever to occur again.
MS TUCKER: My question, which is to the Chief Minister, is regarding year 2000 compliance concerning community service providers. Mrs Carnell, in one of the latest versions of the Government's service purchasing contract, of which, I think, we were told in estimates there were eight, there is a requirement under the providers' obligations that the provider ensure it is year 2000 compliant. As I understand it, computer companies who do the work on this issue will not even guarantee such an outcome. Why, then, is it appropriate to ask of underresourced community organisations that they put themselves in this vulnerable legal position? Would the Government sign such an agreement to make a similar contractual commitment to the ACT community?