Page 4473 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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Wednesday, 23 November 2005

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Public service—complaints investigation

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (10.33): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises the importance of creating a culture in the ACT Public Service which responds positively to internal criticism and concern;

(2) acknowledges the potential for ongoing serious personal costs to all parties involved in complaints about a workplace;

(3) notes:

(a) that a full investigation has been conducted into concerns regarding the ACT Government’s Alcohol and Drug Program;

(b) results of the three investigations commissioned by the ACT Government and resulting reports that have been tabled in the Assembly; and

(c) the ACT Minister for Health has responded to the reports on behalf of the ACT Government in this Assembly; and

(4) ensures recommended strategies are sufficiently supported and scrutinised.

Before I begin I just want to make clear that the motion we have in front of us, along with the amendment that I will move towards the end and which no doubt will be circulated while I am speaking, has been the result of a collaborative process. You will notice that the motion on today’s notice paper is different from the ones that were on last week’s notice paper. I thank all members for their contribution to this.

In general, this motion is about the need to support a learning culture in the ACT public service. More specifically, it is about ensuring that planned improvements to the ACT health department’s alcohol and drug program, henceforth ADP, are put in place and supported and monitored. The action plan for the ADP has been put together following three investigations into concerns and allegations about policies and practice inside the program made public last year by ex-staff members.

As I understand it, those concerns were raised on more than one occasion to senior staff and by the union. It was, however, only after a high-profile article in the Canberra Times, which included the names of the complainants, and the presentation of those concerns to the Chief Minister by Greens MLA Kerrie Tucker in June 2004, that the

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