Page 5522 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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(Question No 788)

Mr Coe asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, upon notice, on 27 October 2017 (redirected to the Minister for Regulatory Services):

(1) How many complaints regarding hoarding have been investigated by the ACT Government, including the Chief Health Officer and the Health Protection Service, during (a) 2016-17 and (b) 2017-18 to date.

(2) How many of the complaints received involve longstanding cases which have been unresolved for more than 12 months.

(3) What action is being taken to address those cases where hoarding behaviour has been documented over several years and is ongoing.

(4) How many complaints received were properties owned by the ACT Government and how many were privately owned.

(5) Does the ACT Government handle hoarding situations on privately owned properties differently than when the property is owned by the Government; if so, can the Minister outline the differences in approach or available powers.

(6) When was the Hoarding Case Management Group first established.

(7) Can the Minister provide the total number of cases the Hoarding Case Management Group handled for each year since its commencement and identify how many cases were active over multiple years.

(8) How many hoarding cases from 2016-17 is the Hoarding Case Management Group still actively working on.

(9) Can the Minister provide an update on the implementation of the Hoarding Code of Practice.

(10) Are any further legislative changes planned or being considered to assist in resolving hoarding cases.

Mr Ramsay: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Noting hoarding crosses many portfolios, I can advise within the Regulatory Services portfolio. Under the Public Health Act 1997, the Health Protection Service (HPS) is responsible for investigating complaints of insanitary conditions including effluent leaks, odour from pets, stagnant swimming pools etc, called “environmental health complaints”, and this may involve investigating hoarding-like behaviours.

In the 2016-17 financial year, the HPS received 99 environmental health complaints and does not electronically record complaints of hoarding-like behaviours separately. Thus it is not possible to electronically extract data on the number of complaints received involving, or alleging, hoarding-like behaviour.

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