The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: In my current role as the Premier's Advocate for Suicide Prevention, and in similar previous positions in opposition, I have seen the impact of the work environment on individual wellbeing and how important it is to provide an appropriate workplace. Will the minister update the council on support for staff in South Australian local health networks?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:11): I thank the honourable member for his question. The Marshall Liberal government believes that workplaces should be safe for employees and free of harassment, bullying and intimidating or otherwise inappropriate behaviour. Within SA Health we are determined to deliver proper processes and adherence to Public Service ethics. Unfortunately, as detailed in the KordaMentha report that was released publicly on Monday, these values and standards of behaviour are not consistently applied in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network. The report identified the leadership and culture within CALHN as a problem.
I spoke yesterday in this place about the enthusiasm shown by nearly a thousand CALHN staff at forums held at Royal Adelaide, The Queen Elizabeth and the Hampstead Rehab Centre. Today, I am able to advise the council that the Central Adelaide Local Health Network is establishing a whistleblower hotline to empower staff to speak out about unethical or disrespectful behaviour. From now onwards, these types of behaviours will not be tolerated. As CALHN's new CEO Lesley Dwyer has told staff, they have not always had the support in the past to call out inappropriate behaviour. However, transforming the culture of an organisation requires active engagement from all members of that organisation. This is particularly the case in those circumstances where some areas of management might have been part of the problem.
To give staff this support, the whistleblower hotline enables all CALHN staff to report in good faith suspected misconduct or disrespectful behaviours. All concerns will be treated confidentially and anonymously if the staff member would prefer, and handled by trained staff who will provide the information to a disclosure officer within CALHN. It is important to emphasise that the whistleblower hotline does not replace communication with managers and human resources representatives. Rather, it gives staff another means to raise concerns and to do so in a safe environment. The helpline will be operated by an Australian company with experience in providing such confidential services for the reporting of unethical or disrespectful behaviour.
Contact will be able to be made by phone, email, internet, fax or mail. This independence is a further assurance to staff and a sign of how seriously CALHN takes this behaviour, and provides reassurance to staff of confidentiality and anonymity in making reports. I echo the words of the newCALHN CEO, Lesley Dwyer, that it is okay to speak up, and I encourage staff to look at this new service as a powerful tool in making their voices and concerns heard.