Page 4887 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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MR COE: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, was the mediator appointed and did the recommendation that outstanding moneys must be paid immediately actually take place?

MS BURCH: It is certainly my understanding that all outstanding moneys have been paid. I will confirm that, but that is certainly the advice I had at the latter part of last week. Senior staff from the Community Services Directorate worked very closely with NBSS around matters of compliance to ensure that they could be reinstated to a transport provider and on the matter of outstanding accounts.

MR SESELJA: Why did it take a recommendation of the Public Advocate to get you to pay a bill to a community organisation providing services to vulnerable children?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Seselja for his question. As has been stated here, there was an amount that was under question. That was not negotiated, finally negotiated, before a placement was made and I think that was a flaw in the process. Clearly an exchange of business needs to have a set price. There was a fee that was paid that was $100,000; without question that was paid. Those matters that were being negotiated have now been resolved.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, are there any other fee-for-service providers engaged by the care and protection service who have outstanding accounts more than 30 days old?

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. In out-of-home care, for the overwhelming bulk of the services, the payments are paid on contract and they are paid three months in advance. I understand that about 80 per cent of the contracts are paid three months in advance, or it could be more. We put out, through out-of-home care, close to $30 million a year. The payments to kinship carers are paid fortnightly. Their contingencies and subsidies are paid fortnightly in arrears. I think what Mrs Dunne is doing is referring to information that she clearly did not quite understand last week. But we have a government policy of paying accounts in 30 days. In the main, that is what we want to do. I think what Mrs Dunne is doing is getting excited about it because she has not understood that the date she was looking at is actually the date on the invoice that is issued from the organisation and not the date on which it is received by the directorate.

Workplace bullying

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Attorney-General and concerns workplace bullying. How many workplace inspectors does ACT WorkSafe employ that are dedicated specifically to workplace bullying matters, and do any of the inspectors have specialised training in this area?

MR CORBELL: I regret that I do not have those numbers in front of me, but I am happy to take the question on notice and provide an answer for Ms Bresnan.

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