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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 397..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, it is not always easy to reach all dog owners. Some of them travel widely around the world and attend functions in places where you cannot reach them. I do not know how we would educate all dog owners about these matters necessarily, but I will take that part of the question on notice and see whether it is possible or appropriate to make any further efforts to engage in public education about the requirements of the Dog Control Act.

Ambulance Service

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Humphries. Mr Humphries, I refer to your press release of 24 February 1997 in which you claim the problems encountered in providing a fifth ambulance can be attributed to work practices and recruitment problems. Is it not the case that there has been no full-time fifth ambulance because of budget cutbacks imposed on employing staff after hours?

MR HUMPHRIES: Absolutely not. Mr Speaker, I do not believe I actually said in the press release that it was attributable to work practices. I said it was an issue we had to look at to see whether we could improve the quality of our services. I do not resile from the fact that I think work practices have to be looked at, Mr Speaker; but I am not saying that is the problem necessarily which has led to the problem with the fifth crew.

Mr Whitecross: You have no evidence that that is the problem.

MR HUMPHRIES: No; I did not say I did. I said it had to be looked at.

MS McRAE: My supplementary question is this: Is your omission from your press release another example of your seeking to deflect blame away from policy failures by you and your Government to Emergency Services staff?

MR HUMPHRIES: They have obviously reached the bottom of the barrel for this question time theme, I can tell you, Mr Speaker.

Ms McRae: It is a pity you do not answer the questions.

MR HUMPHRIES: I am afraid I did fully answer every question that was asked of me, Ms McRae; and I have answered this one as well. I did not say in the press release what you alleged I said. That was the first part of your question. I did not attribute the lack of a fifth ambulance crew to work practices. You go back and read my press release very carefully and you will see that is so. In fact, I am sure that if I had you would have quoted it back at me in the supplementary question.

Let us bear something in mind. The fifth crew is meant to be located, according to the plans we have announced, in Fyshwick-Narrabundah. That is the place where present surveys indicate there is a gap in our services, where the response times are slower, because the crews in Ainslie and Woden are too far away to be able to reach that point within the required, I think, eight minutes.

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