Page 4474 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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government responded with a plan of action. I am pleased to recognise that, once the matter had got that far, the ACT government undertook full and serious investigations consisting of three independent reviews: a probity review, a workplace environment review and a clinical governance review.

In response to concerns regarding probity in the ADP, the probity review, which reported in July 2004, recommended corrections in procedures or policy in every one of the areas identified for investigation. The workplace environment review, which reported in December 2004, the full report of which I have not seen, made 31 recommendations ranging from defining the roles and responsibilities for senior staff and incorporating them into their performance agreements, which it would seem is a new process, to ensuring staff receive adequate support following serious incidents, which until then it could not be said that they did. The clinical governance review, which was released with a government response in June this year, made 52 recommendations, beginning with the development of a more client-centred culture within the service, recommendation 1, and moving to recommendations at the end of the report asking the ADP to develop a strategic approach to service commissioning and implementation. Considered together, these are specifications for a profound remodelling of the ADP, with a number of safeguards and substantial quality improvements. I do not think we can trivialise the significance of the changes that were foreshadowed by this process.

It is important to remind members that concerns regarding the ADP—how it worked internally with its clientele and with community partners—predate the disclosures of last year and, indeed, many of the staff. I would suggest there were embedded dysfunctions that had never been properly addressed, and it is important to keep that in mind when looking at this latest sequence of events and considering how to move forward now.

I would like to put on the record that both I and my Greens MLA predecessor, Kerrie Tucker, publicly pressed for the concerns and allegations about the ADP to be independently and thoroughly investigated and, where substantiated, addressed. Our concern was always to ensure that the important work of the alcohol and drug program was supported and that inefficiencies, conflicts or service quality problems were dealt with fairly and openly. My aim now is to ensure that any subsequent plans or strategies that have emerged from the inquiry process are both rigorous and sustainable.

I do not see my role as one of pursuing or addressing the behaviour or the performance of individuals who gave rise to or who were the focus of these investigations, because individual workplace issues are not usually a matter for debate in the Assembly. Rather, the intent of this motion is to ensure that the proposed improvements are put in place, are well supported and closely scrutinised, and, further, that lessons learned from the problems identified at ADP are applied to other government programs so that crisis does not have to be reached before action occurs.

This motion, as it is now written, acknowledges the damage that can be done to all parties when issues of dysfunction and divergent views of process have to be dealt with in such a public manner. People who find themselves making complaints or under attack publicly make themselves extraordinarily vulnerable. Furthermore, when systems are shown to have failed, the consequences can rebound on individuals to an extraordinary degree. The negative long-term impacts can be terrible, and people often emerge from such experiences with limited work opportunities and shattered confidence.

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