Page 156 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004

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supporting medical staff such as ward clerks, hospital storemen, kitchen workers and hospital cleaners? And will these positions be considered for these job cuts?

MR CORBELL: No, they won’t.

MR SMYTH: Minister, how many additional SES officers have joined your department since the introduction of this government’s so-called health reforms? Are any of these facing cuts?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. I cannot provide him with that figure off the top of my head, but I will take the question on notice and provide the information to the member.

In relation to whether those positions are being considered for redundancy: not at this time. The areas that are being considered are in the finance and human resources areas of different elements of ACT Health.

Alcohol and drug program

MR SESELJA: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. For two years, whistleblowers tried to get you to do something about allegations of serious impropriety in the alcohol and drug program, taking their concerns to the chief executive of your department in 2002.

For two years the government did nothing, until the complainants went to the Canberra Times in July. Your government then commissioned a report, which you are refusing to make public. One of the whistleblowers is cited in today’s Canberra Times as saying that it is a disappointing decision and almost impossible to have faith in the process given that their concerns have been ignored for two years.

Why should these whistleblowers have any faith in the process, given that you ignored their concerns for two years and you are now refusing to release a damning report?

MR CORBELL: Perhaps Mr Seselja did not hear my answer yesterday. The reason I am not willing to make that report public is that it contains information of a private nature that reflects directly on individuals working in the program, and it names them. They are still public servants and they are still entitled to some level of protection in that regard.

That said, the reports—and there are three reports, not one, two of which have been completed and one of which is currently being completed—have been fully acted on by ACT Health. They are receiving close scrutiny from me and from the chief executive of the department. I envisage that two of the three reports will be released. Mr Seselja may or may not be aware that I have already released one of them in the previous Assembly. I anticipate that the third report will be released. But, because of the privacy issues related to the details and actions of individual staff who are directly named in that report, on advice I have decided not to release that other report.

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister: what action will be taken against those named?

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