Page 4479 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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to make that quite clear. That does not for a moment seek to undermine or to dismiss the importance of ensuring that as many resources as possible are put into providing support for people with alcohol and drug problems. We focus very strongly on that, we continue to improve funding, but I am sure we will continue to have an argument about what is sufficient.

The other point I want to make is in relation to ongoing scrutiny. Ongoing scrutiny is an appropriate role for this Assembly and there is a range of opportunities for members to do that. Reports and estimates hearings are the most obvious avenue of scrutiny, as well as members’ questions in this place and debates in this place. But members should always be cautious about trying to do the job of managers in the operation of a service. At the end of the day, I expect my chief executive—and in turn he expects his managers in ACT Health—to do their jobs in delivering programs and delivering them efficiently and effectively and consistent with the strategies that government has set in place at a policy level. Whilst it is reasonable for members to ask questions of and to provide scrutiny of management of public services in the ACT, we do have to be conscious of where we draw the line about scrutiny and where it really is a matter for managers to manage appropriately and professionally in terms of the delivery of services.

I know Dr Foskey was interested in some sort of ongoing oversight mechanism. I do not believe that is appropriate. I believe there are sufficient oversight mechanisms in place—annual reports and estimates in the Assembly—and I will always, as I have indicated on this issue today and as I have demonstrated on this issue today, provide information openly and comprehensively on these matters so that members can be assured as to what steps are being taken to address issues of concern. But the issue of us trying to duplicate the work of or look over the shoulders of managers in making sure they do their jobs must also be kept in mind by members.

The government will support the motion. I think we have demonstrated our willingness as a government to investigate these matters fully and comprehensively and to be open about the outcomes, and I look forward to continuing improvements in the delivery of services for people with alcohol and drug problems here in Canberra as a result of these changes.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (10.57): To remind members of why this came about, it is important to look at the issues that were raised by those members of the service that made the public interest disclosure. The public interest disclosure looked at four areas: the conduct of the opiate treatment service, the methadone program; counselling, case management and health promotion; management and staffing issues; and service delivery issues.

Whilst I note the subdued support from the minister, this came about because the minister and his senior management ignored what was going on in the service. It was raised, issues were brought to people’s attention and it was not until we had a public interest disclosure, articles in the Canberra Times and motions in this place that the minister actually did something about it.

It is quite interesting to read the report on the investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment done by Maureen Cane, whom I think we all know from communities at work. It states:

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