Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 19 November 2015) . . Page.. 4283 ..

they are dealt with swiftly and that they are dealt with effectively, so that people have confidence that, as a member of the ACT public service, they will not be left hung out to dry; that if they seek a remedy to bullying they actually get the assistance that they need? Indeed the bully should get the assistance that he or she needs so that they can work effectively in the workspace with both their juniors and their senior employees. We need to reduce the dreadful record that the ACT public service has, with its 3.6 mental health claims per 1,000: more than double that of the APS and nine times that of the private sector.

No staff at CIT were stood down, and to our knowledge none was moved. That was a few years ago, and CIT claimed to have put in place a huge swag of initiatives to change the culture. Yet this year the education committee is now hearing similar complaints from yet another faculty at the CIT. This is the problem. When you do not have a good staff culture and when you do not actually address it, you can put in all the processes and programs that you want, but if they do not deliver results and they do not give people confidence that they can come to their superiors in the service, then what you will get is festering. As we found out, that is what happened in the toxic culture in ambulance, the 10-year war in obstetrics, and we now have the survey that says 20 per cent of staff in EPD feel that they have been harassed or bullied.

In education, it is just as bad. The minister’s own union ran a no-confidence motion against her because of the handling of several issues. We have a systematic failure and a system-wide failure of this government to provide a good staff culture in the ACT public service and to provide effective remedies for those affected. There seems to be in place the RED framework, which may or may not be working. Time will tell. But if people do not have confidence—and it would appear in EPD that even though 20 per cent felt they had been bullied or harassed, clearly, no formal complaint had been made. So we fudge it again. It is an informal complaint or a formal complaint. I think for many people it is just too hard, and the pressures that apply are just so intense that it is easier to either put up with it or leave. What we are then doing is crippling people, and the mental health claims would prove that the ACT public service has a great deal of work to do.

One of the interesting things from the estimates last year was the questions asked by Mrs Jones, and I commend her for it. (Time expired.)

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (4.39): A positive staff culture within the ACT public service is essential to effectively serve the Canberra community. All ACT public service staff deserve to work in a mutually respectful environment where their contributions are recognised, where their ideas are considered and where they know exactly what is expected of them. Bullying, harassment, intimidation, racism, sexism and homophobia have no place in the ACT public service or in the territory.

Since becoming Chief Minister I have stressed to our public sector leaders that they have an opportunity to shape our corporate culture. I want the government to be about finding 100 ways to make something happen rather than 100 reasons to say no. That is why I have insisted that public sector leaders encourage their teams to share ideas

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video