NURSES HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICE

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(15:01:52): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Sustainability, Conservation and the Environment, representing the Minister for Health, a question regarding a nurses health and safety service.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: It has come to my attention in recent years that the Victorian government has funded a nurses health and safety service, which provides specific and targeted assistance to nurses and other health professionals on matters such as substance abuse and mental health issues. This is a system that the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) has long been advocating to have established in South Australia.

The attractiveness of the scheme to individuals who seek its services in Victoria is that, if you enter the scheme voluntarily, you are given rehabilitative services without the possibility of any punitive processes taking place, particularly in cases of substance abuse being engaged in with substances obtained in the workplace or in the case of unwanted or unnecessary scrutiny in a small workforce. My question is: will the minister listen to the calls from the ANMF (South Australian Branch) and establish such a scheme for our frontline health workers in South Australia?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER(Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change)(15:03:11): I thank the honourable member for his most important question, directed to the Minister for Health in the other place. I undertake to take that question to the Minister for Health and bring back a response on his behalf.