Page 681 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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(5) Which agencies work with the Health Protection Service on hoarding complaints.

(6) Has a code of practice now been determined to set out guidelines for the Chief Health Officer about the public health management of insanitary conditions caused by hoarding and domestic squalor as provided by the 2016 amendments to the Public Health Act 1997.

(7) Have improved administrative mechanisms been introduced for the submission and implementation of an abatement order, as granted by the ACT Magistrates Court, following the 2016 amendments to the Public Health Act 1997.

Ms Berry: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) From 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2016, the HPS received 532 environmental health complaints, which cover a broad spectrum of issues and may also include complaints about hoarding-like behaviours. Of the 532 environmental health complaints received from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2016, the HPS issued 25 abatement notices upon investigation for matters that are, or are likely to become an insanitary condition that poses a public health risk. Of the 25 abatement notices issued, 10 abatement notices were for insanitary conditions involving hoarding-like behaviours.

(2) The HPS has been dealing with one residential property that has had repeated incidents of insanitary conditions over several years. ACT Health continues to monitor and take regulatory action as appropriate with regard to this property.

There are also two other residential properties that involve ongoing hoarding-like behaviour but do not constitute an insanitary condition. ACT Health is working collaboratively with all relevant agencies to help address community concerns regarding hoarding at these properties.

(3) Hoarding is a complex problem that is largely beyond the scope of the HPS’s role as a protector of public health. The HPS has invested considerable resources into improving the response to hoarding like behaviours that cause insanitary conditions that pose a public health risk.

ACT Government and non-government agencies have a range of services and resources that can complement each other to manage cases involving hoarding-like behaviour. A multi-agency approach allows more efficient management of cases of hoarding-like behaviours that may lead to an insanitary condition. To facilitate an improved response to issues of hoarding, the Hoarding Case Management Group has been established comprising relevant government and non-government agencies.

(4) The HPS actively investigates the small number of residential premises found to pose a public health risk due to insanitary conditions caused by hoarding-like behaviour. This includes ongoing monitoring as appropriate.

(5) The HPS has adopted a collaborative, interagency approach to respond to cases of severe domestic squalor and hoarding-like behaviour in the ACT. This is exercised through the Hoarding Case Management Group, whose membership comprises representatives from:

Health Protection Service, ACT Health

Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services, ACT Health

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