Page 1422 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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Assembly on the public housing renewal program and our progress in improving outcomes for the individuals and families who reside in public housing.

I present the following paper:

Public housing renewal progress—Ministerial statement, 9 May 2017.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Canberra Hospital—electrical switchboard incident

Ministerial statement

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (11.20): Today I am providing a detailed statement on the incident that occurred at the Canberra Hospital in April 2017. In the interests of openness and transparency, I would like to provide a full and factual account. Above all I would like to reassure the Assembly and the community that the safety and wellbeing of patients and their families and all the staff at Canberra Hospital is our number one priority.

I would also like to update the Assembly on the work that was already underway to upgrade electrical infrastructure, remedial work to address the immediate aftermath of the switchboard fire and subsequent power outage, as well as the steps the ACT government is taking to make sure we have the infrastructure we need to keep providing the high level of care patients and the Canberra community expect from their hospital.

The incident was serious and warranted the full attention of ACT Health. The incident was responded to with speed, professionalism and care. I would again like to reiterate my sincere thanks to all staff of ACT Health, the ACT Emergency Services Agency, ACT Policing, Transport Canberra and City Services and other staff and contractors from across the ACT government for their hard work, dedication and professionalism throughout the incident and since. I would also like to thank staff from Calvary hospital Bruce and National Capital Private Hospital for their assistance on the night and since. To all the patients and their families affected, I would also like to extend my thanks for their patience and understanding during the incident and since.

As members are aware, at approximately 5.30 pm on Wednesday, 5 April 2017 there was a small fire in the main electrical switchboard room in building 2 of the Canberra Hospital. The fire occurred when a fault arose during a planned electrical shut down associated with lift upgrade works. While the exact cause of the fire is the subject of an ongoing investigation, it appears that an electrical switch had a mechanical failure during operation, causing a section of the switchboard to ignite and catch fire. Two electrical contractors were in the main electrical switchboard room at the time of the incident. They did not sustain any injuries.

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