Labor-Greens Government is failing Canberra’s health workers


The ACT Labor-Greens Government is failing Canberra’s health workers by not doing enough to ensure the environment in which they work meets the highest occupational health and safety standards.

Shadow Minister for Health Giulia Jones said Last weeks ACT Budget deferred $643,000 intended for the implementing of the Independent Review into the Workplace Culture within ACT Public Health services from 2020-21.

“That Inquiry was prompted by years of inaction on the frequently toxic workplace culture within the ACT health system,” Mrs Jones said.

“The Review was the Government’s own work, and the 20 recommendations were their own recommendations to implement. Fewer than half of the recommendations have been implemented now more than 950 days later.”

The Inquiry heard of:

  • inappropriate behaviours and bullying and harassment in the workplace
  • inefficient procedures and processes including complaints handling
  • inadequate training in dealing with inappropriate workplace practices
  • inability to make timely decisions
  • poor leadership and management at many levels throughout the ACT Public Health System, and
  • inefficient and inappropriate Human Resource (HR) practices, including recruitment

“Just seven of the recommendations had been implemented after 800 days, now over 950 days since the review, the Labor-Greens Government is still dragging its feet on implementing its own report."

Mrs Jones called on the Government to immediately answer the following questions:

  • why have all the recommendations not yet been implemented?
  • why was the $643,000 not spent last financial year on this work?
  • what is the current state of workplace culture in the ACT health system?

Mrs Jones noted the ACT Government has a legal obligation under work health and safety legislation to provide for their workforce a healthy workplace in which to do their very demanding jobs.

“Last time we discussed this matter, the Government blamed COVID for the delay. But as our health system is under the added pressure of COVID, this work is more important than ever.

“The Government has asked for immense things from our health workers, but it isn’t meeting its side of the bargain by fixing the workplace culture.

‘It’s easy to say thank you to hospital staff; it’s quite another thing to actually respect them enough to provide an appropriate work environment,” Mrs Jones concluded