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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2209 ..

Health inspectors

(Question No 686)

Mr Smyth

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

In relation to health inspectors:

(1) How many health inspectors are currently employed in the ACT;

(2) Is this number up or down on the figure for the previous financial year;

(3) If the number is up, why were more inspectors appointed, if the figure is down, why were inspectors put off and will they ever be replaced;

(4) What is the average salary of a health inspector in the ACT;

(5) On average how many establishments would each inspector visit per month;

(6) Is there a certain number of establishments inspectors are meant to visit each month, if so, what is it, if not, why not;

(7) Has the Government received any complaints about the lack of health inspectors in the ACT.

Mr Corbell

: The answer to the member's question is:

(1) Public Health Officers are authorised officers for the purpose of the Public Health Act 1997 or a provision of this Act. Public Health Officers, who are authorised to enforce the Food Act 2001, the Smoke-free Areas (Enclosed Public Places) Act 1994 and the Tobacco Act 1927, were formerly known as Environmental Health Officers or health inspectors.

I understand that there are 19 Public Health Officers currently employed within the Environmental Health Section of the Health Protection Service (HPS), including the HPS General Manager.

The Environmental Health Operations consists of 11 field Public Health Officers (Professional Officer Level 1 and Professional Officer Level 2 positions) and two Managers (Senior Professional Officer Level C).

The Environmental Health Project Team consists of a Manager (Senior Professional Officer Level C) and four policy officers who are also authorised to enforce the above legislation (three Professional Officers Level 2 and one Professional Officer Level 1).

(2) The number of funded Environmental Health Public Health Officer positions has not changed. The number of these positions filled at any given time varies according to staff turnover and ACT Health's ability to recruit within a competitive market.

(3) There has been no increase in positions. At present there are three temporary or permanent vacancies. Over the last two financial years, there has been significant staff turnover in the Environmental Health Section of the HPS, which has created vacancies. There have been some difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified Public Health Officers due to the competitive labour market in this field.

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