Page 3645 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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Lollipop Childcare Centre—safety
(Question No 494)

Mr Pratt asked the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, upon notice, on 18 August 2005:

(1) In relation to incidents of threat and violence against passers-by, including parents and children attending the nearby Lollipop Childcare Centre, in the vicinity of the needle exchange located at the Phillip Health Centre in Woden, how many such incidents have been reported during (a) 2001-02, (b) 2002-03, (c) 2003-04, (d) 2004-05 and (e) 2005-06 to date;

(2) How many of these incidents have involved users of the needle exchange program at the health centre;

(3) Have any of these incidents involved needle-stick injuries;

(4) Does the Minister regard operating a needle exchange and disposal outlet in close proximity as a childcare centre as a safe and acceptable policy; if so, why;

(5) What will the ACT Government do to ensure the safety of children and parents attending the Lollipop Childcare Centre who may be feeling threatened by users of the needle exchange.

Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) A search was conducted of the Police database based on the parameters of common assault or threat to kill. No incidents were reported for the offence types at the Phillip Health Centre Woden and the Lollipop Childcare Centre during the requested reporting periods.

(2) No incidents were reported.

(3) No incidents were reported.

(4) I am advised by ACT Health that Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) operate in all states and territories in Australia. In the ACT, there are over 40 outlets including pharmacies and community health centres. While efforts are made not to locate outlets near childcare centres, particularly in town centres, some will be relatively close to childcare centres. The ACT Government has a Sharps Hotline service and a City Ranger will collect and dispose of inappropriately discarded needles and syringes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Puncture proof disposal containers and safe disposal bins are located across the ACT. Two safe disposal bins are located outside Phillip Health Centre in Woden.

(5) ACT Policing takes all reports of disturbances and criminal activity seriously, especially those involving children, and will respond in accordance with established priorities.

ACT Policing encourages people to report all incidents to police in order that they may gain as accurate a picture as possible of incidents occurring and effectively deploy resources.

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