Page 1503 - Week 06 - Thursday, 2 July 2020

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MR HANSON: Can you clarify that steps were taken and explain what those steps were to ensure that the senior health executive had no interaction with children after he was charged?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I need to clarify, because clearly Mr Hanson was not listening to my earlier answer. This individual did not inform his employer that he had been charged with a serious criminal offence. It was not lawful for other agencies to notify the ACT Health Directorate that this charge had been laid; therefore, it was not possible, because the ACT Health Directorate were not aware of the charges, for them to take specific action at the time that the individual was charged.

As soon as the ACT Health Directorate became aware of these very serious charges, they took appropriate action under the employment framework and to ensure that the affected staff in the ACT Health Directorate, who everyone can understand would be extremely distressed about this matter, are receiving appropriate support.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, since the agency found out about this matter, what steps have been taken to ensure that there was no interaction between the senior health executive and children?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Again, I think I have answered most of this in terms of steps that have been taken. On Friday, 15 May the individual was suspended without pay and the employment of the individual, who worked in an administrative capacity only, ended on 22 May. So the individual was suspended without pay on the day after the directorate became aware of this matter. Clearly, the directorate is not in a position to determine whether that individual has contact with children in their private life, but they did not have contact with children as part of their role, in their job.

ACT Health—child sex offences

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Health. Again, we refer to the article published in the Canberra Times on 22 June. Minister, on what date were you or your office first advised that a senior ACT Health official had been charged with criminal child sex offences?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Again, I actually provided that information in my very first answer. On 14 May, when the director-general became aware, she advised me.

MR WALL: Minister, what actions did you take upon becoming aware of this incident?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I had a conversation with the Director-General of the ACT Health Directorate, who, like many others, was very distressed to discover this information about someone that she had worked with—this is incredibly distressing information to find out about someone you work with—and she ran me through the investigation that she had instigated. She kept me up to date in terms of where that investigation had got to and advised me about the fact that the individual’s employment with the ACT Health Directorate had come to an end.

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