Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 upgrading or replacing those clinics because of the shameful way in which they have been left. We are working on that program. In the coming financial year, we are providing extra funds for the Galiwinku Health Clinic. Part of that work will include safety measures. In relation to further measures for safety in remote clinics, we have installed duress alarms, as I said in Question Time, in Category 1 clinics throughout the Territory and we have, in the current budget, funded further duress alarms for Category 2 clinics. The CLP never did anything like this. Their interest in nurses in remote areas is a revelation. It is good that they suddenly have an interest, but the hypocrisy of this is amazing. Where were their duress alarms? Where was their policy to help staff if they were facing aggressive situations? I cannot see it. Suddenly they have this interest, yet there has always been violence towards staff, be it in the NT, New South Wales, Queensland or the USA. Sadly, this is part of living in a community; it is something that happens. We have to ensure that all violence is minimised, and that is what we are working on. We have also been working across government to ensure that the whole-of-govemment looks at the issue of safety. Early last year, there was a meeting of the CEOs of health, education and police, in Nhulunbuy, together with senior elders from communities in the area, to talk about this whole issue of aggression and violence towards staff - whether they be nurses or teachers or any other kind of departmental staff. This was about working on protocols to ensure when there were violent incidents that, in fact, there would be an appropriate way for the community to deal with those. This is a successful program and it is something which we are rolling out across the Northern Territory. It is very important that we work with communities to ensure that our Aboriginal people are also involved in the solutions to these situations. There was mention of police and that, somehow, we should fund police in every community. We have actually increased the number of police in some remote areas, and I imagine that we will continue to do that over the coming years. It is not something that you can do instantly. It would not be necessary, or even desirable, to have police in every single community. Instead, you need to have a program working in the community where people respond to aggressive action so that, for example, if a staff person pushes a duress alarm, then a senior elder will come and assist that person to ensure that they are safe. We are working hard with those communities, and it is a facile solution to put police in to every community. Some communities are very small, and the cost benefit analysis of that would be ridiculous. Speaking directly about the Gove District Hospital, I cannot quite see what the problem is there. We are putting in a lot of money, looking at the issues, and working with the staff. What did the CLP do? Nothing. In relation to training, I understand that there has been some training. There is a training component for all staff on aggression and, in addition, a Gove District Hospital staff member has been accredited with professional assaults response team training to provide training, and is due to start the training in the hospital. Therefore, in fact, there are things happening in relation to training. I thought it unfortunate that the member for Drysdale would bring into this House details about a particular nurse. I am not going to make any comment whatsoever on issues relating to Ms Riley. Discussing matters in this House relating to individuals is highly inappropriate. We do not have ... Mr Dunham: You do it all the time. Madam SPEAKER: Member for Drysdale! Mrs AAGAARD: We do not have the permission of Ms Riley to use her name or discuss her case in this House. We do not have her permission, and it is absolutely appalling to name someone in this House and to use this person in this way. It amazes me how low the CLP will go, but I guess they really need a major smokescreen for the kind of disaster that they are facing. Once again, I say that violent incidents against staff in 2002-03 have decreased. That clearly means that, during the time of this government, we have worked very hard and have been improving the situation. It is not excellent. I am not saying it is excellent, and I have never suggested anything of the sort. However, all we can do, as other governments do around Australia, is work hard to try to solve this issue. One of these things is to upgrade our clinics. As I said before, many of the clinics we have been left with are quite unsafe, and we are working hard to improve those areas. I move specifically to the report. The report has some very sad photographs in it, and it is also clearly a report about substance abuse as opposed to violence. There is no question that substance abuse anywhere in the community is a very serious matter. Although the report is about substance abuse, it also outlines very serious matters in relation to mental health. Mental health is one of the areas identified by this government as being under-resourced for at least a decade. Once again, it is a great embarrassment that we have been left with 4393

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