Page 4475 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 30 October 2018

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Like many Canberrans, the government is very much looking forward to seeing light rail vehicles running along the length of the track. Testing of the vehicles and equipment continues on the northern part of the track and we expect testing to progress southwards to Dickson in coming weeks.

MS ORR: Minister, given the remaining construction and accreditation work, can you update the Assembly on the time frame for the commencement of light rail services?

MS FITZHARRIS: Following completion of construction, Canberra Metro will need to finalise third-party rail accreditation from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and the Independent Certifier before light rail services can begin operations. While this means that we do not have an exact date yet, I can confirm that we are expecting services to begin in early 2019.

The ACT government and Transport Canberra are also working on a plan to design a launch weekend that will give as many Canberrans as possible the chance to ride light rail on the first weekend. We will release details about these plans soon.

As with any complex infrastructure project, there are risks that affect timing, such as weather, the testing and commissioning of rail and signalling systems, and finalising of the stops. This is the biggest, most complex infrastructure project that the ACT has ever seen, and we should not underestimate the significant progress that has been made.

The government is delivering a reliable, efficient and integrated public transport network for Canberra. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Canberra Metro for their hard work and the community for their patience and understanding as construction nears completion. It is clear that significant progress has been made, and I look forward to giving further updates to the community.

Canberra Hospital—pharmacy service

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, you said recently, in answer to a question on notice, that 30 pharmacy staff at the Canberra Hospital had resigned in the 18 months to 30 June this year. This is 60 per cent of the relevant classifications. You also said that reasons given in exit interviews included income security, a perceived lack of career progression opportunities, and insufficient supervision. The media has reported that pharmacy services were in crisis, with patient safety at risk, pharmacists looking elsewhere, and warnings of industrial action. And on 24 October it reported that finally, after at least a year of negotiations, a deal had been reached.

Minister, why did it take you so long, to the point where there were public warnings about patient safety, concerns about income security, and threats of industrial action, to negotiate suitable employment arrangements with pharmacy staff?

MS FITZHARRIS: I do not negotiate those. They are agreed between pharmacy staff and ACT Health, and now Canberra Health Services. I very much welcomed the conclusion of those negotiations and I very much welcomed the representations made

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