Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, August 2 2011 - 5
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The ACT Government has introduced 40km/h trials
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safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
From August 2011 for a period of six months, the
40km/h speed limit will be enforced 24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
Canberrans are urged to be aware of these 40km/h
areas and take caution when driving.
For more information contact Canberra Connect
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Needle swap program support
The Alexander Maconochie Centre.
Plan to stop spread of diseases in prison
A NEW report has advised the ACT
Government to implement a contained
needle and syringe program inside the
health centre of the Alexander Macono-
While health groups have welcomed
the recommendation, the union represen-
ting the corrections staff are yet to
publically give their position.
The report, completed by Public Health
Association of Australia chief executive
Michael Moore, was delivered to the
Government last week.
Mr Moore has recommended that a
needle exchange program be run by an
external provider within the prison's
current health centre.
It is proposed correctional officers
would escort prisoners to the health
centre and all supply of syringes and
injecting would take place there.
This would ensure the syringes could
not be returned into the general prison
Mr Moore suggested a flexible
approach to implementing the needle
program, whereby if the first model is not
found to be successful an alternative
model is used.
The next most favoured approach is a
contained program delivered by ACT
Health/nursing staff in the health centre.
The last suggested model is the
placement of one for one exchange
syringe vending machines in the prison.
The ACT Government engaged the
association in May to investigate different
models of implementation of a needle
program after the Burnet Institute report
found there was a case for one.
The executive officer of the ACT
Hepatitis Resource Centre, Robyn Davis,
said the contained needle program model
was a good place to start for a trial but it
was important to work out what sort of
program would suit Canberra's prison.
She said while the move may not be
welcomed by the community, the ACT
Government had a real chance to help
stop the spread of blood-borne diseases.
"If it can stop just one person getting
Hepatitis C it will have done its job," Ms
She said it was also crucial that
services such as the ACT Hepatitis
Resource Centre received enough funding
to provide education and support.
The resource centre works with prison-
ers in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
She said the needle program should be
just one part of a comprehensive
approach to tackling Hepatitis C.
Community and Public Sector Union's
Vince McDevitt said the union was still
examining the report and held a report-
back meeting for members yesterday
He said the union had identified a range
of issues underpinning their opposition to
a needle program but most of them
centred on occupational health and safety.
"We'll be looking at whether or not
these concerns have been addressed," Mr
"It's about prison officers being con-
cerned about being confronted in their
workplace by a drug affected prisoner
wielding a hypodermic needle."
While the union is sensitive about the
Government's wish to reduce the spread
of blood borne diseases, they claim no
inmate has contracted Hepatitis C in the
"We have not seen one demonstrated
case of someone entering the AMC being
Hep C clear and contracting Hep C in
here," Mr McDevitt said.
However, the Burnet report indicated
there could be other cases of transmis-
sions but the current testing practices
were inadequate to reliably estimate this.
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