Page 4236 - Week 13 - Thursday, 19 November 2015

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(b) provisions in the standing orders and Companion document which provide for a Member to breastfeed their baby in the Legislative Assembly; and

(2) refers to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure the following matters for consideration and report back to the Assembly by the last sitting day in May 2016:

(a) options and flexibility for breastfeeding women;

(b) emergency care for family members;

(c) accepted practice in regard to pairing arrangements; and

(d) consideration of proxy voting.”.

I thank Mrs Jones for bringing this motion to the Assembly, and I welcome the opportunity to consider how this government can further support MLAs to both breastfeed their babies and meet their responsibilities as members. I also welcome the chance to continue this conversation for ACT government employees and all other employers to support their employees in meeting their responsibilities as parents and carers.

The ACT government is committed to ensuring that all women have the opportunity to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is an important process, and we know that it supports the growth and development of babies. As a government, we are committed to giving all children in our community the best start in life, and breast milk contains important antibodies which build up a baby’s immune system.

The whole-of-government framework relating to breastfeeding in the workplace, both for public and private sector, is provided in the ACT breastfeeding strategic framework 2010-15, which was developed by the Health Directorate and launched in 2010. The overall aim of the framework is to identify strategies to increase the number of infants being exclusively breastfed from birth to six months and to encourage ongoing breastfeeding with complementary foods until at least 12 months of age.

The framework is the outcome of an extensive consultation process with health professionals, including general practitioners, key stakeholders, policymakers from government and non-government organisations, as well as mothers, fathers and grandparents. However, we also need to acknowledge that breastfeeding is not easy for all mothers. Government and community must do everything they can to support women to breastfeed, if they can, including when they return to the workplace, and also to support those parents who, for whatever reason, do not or cannot breastfeed.

Creating a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers to breastfeed their babies or express their milk during the day can be the difference between persevering and giving up on breastfeeding or persevering and giving up on paid work. As an employer, the ACT government has considered breastfeeding-friendly workplace

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