Minister Gentleman tasks public service with spin doctoring

For more than 100 days, Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman withheld official ambulance data as he directed ACT public servants to spin a negative news story into a positive one, according to documents released under Freedom of Information.
The data withheld revealed that 41.5 per cent of ambulance emergency shifts were working below minimum crewing levels in 2016-17. This means that 303 of 730 shifts failed to meet the crewing target – a 36 per cent increase from 2015-16 figures.
Instead of releasing the data which was obtained within the standard 30 day deadline, Mr Gentleman’s office directed public servants to make the data sound better, causing significant delays to its public release.
“What a stitch up,” Mr Wall said.
“On almost a daily basis there are not enough ambulances on ACT roads to service the community, and meet the government’s minimum operational requirements.
“Rather than addressing underlying issues in the delivery of vital ambulance services, Mr Gentleman has tasked the public service to spin doctor an official government response.
“Mr Gentleman has invested a considerable amount of ACT public servants’ time and resources into alterations that add little more than spin.
“Not only has the Minister tasked the public service with spin doctoring, but it appears he also misled the Assembly by blaming the delays on the time taken to retrieve the data.
“Mr Gentleman should be held to account for politicising this process. He also needs to correct the record,” Mr Wall concluded.