Page 3682 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 September 2018

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The subject of pill testing has been raised since then, most significantly in Sydney and also right around the country. I have certainly shared the ACT’s experience with my colleagues in other jurisdictions. I will look forward to seeing them all again in a few weeks at the next COAG Health Council meeting and again offering to each of them the ACT’s very considered views on this matter and on the lengthy process that the ACT government went through to determine whether it should proceed with the pill testing trial. I have recently written to the federal Minister for Health after the commonwealth’s announcement that it would not allow pill testing to proceed at Spilt Milk, given that it was occurring on commonwealth land. I will continue to offer all the experience we have here in the ACT in terms of forming our decision and in terms of the data and evidence that we received from the pill testing trial conducted earlier this year.

MS LE COUTEUR: Noting what you have just said, is the ACT government working with the promoters or the NCA to ensure that there is some way that pill testing can go ahead at Spilt Milk, given the urgency of it as has just been revealed by last weekend’s tragic occurrences?

MS FITZHARRIS: Certainly in terms of the commonwealth’s decision, that is my understanding—that that decision was made—and the contact for that decision has been the federal Minister for Health, in the sense that it was not specifically the NCA’s decision, as I understand it. It was a commonwealth government decision. Certainly we have offered and attended a number of meetings—ACT government officials did—with NCA officials and the festival organisers to again provide all the information that we had at hand, to work with them and to share our experience, which was a positive one.

MR HANSON: Minister, why has every other government across Australia, both Liberal and Labor, rejected this proposal?

MS FITZHARRIS: Because they have not looked at the evidence available. They have not been able to look at the evidence available or explore the benefits of actually conducting a trial like this. Certainly, in the ACT, because of the pill testing trial here, two potentially lethal substances were discovered in pills tested at the Groovin the Moo festival. That information is now available to public health officials and our law enforcement agencies. It is exactly the experience that we had here that I will continue to share with my colleagues. I note that the ACT government has a proud and continuing history as a progressive government, willing to look at issues and take significant decisions to make sure that we can have progressive reform and progressive initiatives here in our own jurisdiction.

ACT Health—workplace culture

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, on 12 September, the media published an opinion piece by the AMA. It was about the need for a board of inquiry investigation into the ACT health system. In that article, the AMA stated:

The cost of poor workplace culture and bullying is just too high to bear.

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