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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1480..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

This increase for the disability sector is substantial. It is the most significant investment for people with disabilities since self-government. It recognises that there is unmet need in the community; that we are trying to deal with that but that more needed to be done. So this will target supported accommodation, additional respite services, community access places and individualised funding. Some of that will be provided by the community sector because they have expertise in this area, but I know already from feedback that we have received from both the mental health and the disability sector that both of the funding commitments handed down yesterday, including the strategic direction of those funding decisions, have been warmly welcomed by the sector and I look forward to working with them to implement the best arrangements and the best support models that we can to support those members of our community who need that.

Emergency Services Agency—funding

MR PRATT: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, in this budget you have addressed a number of capability, equipment and training shortfalls in the emergency services budget which are long overdue and those delays have affected the performance of the emergency services in various ways. It would appear, however, that the emergency services organisation has become dysfunctional. There still remain the 40 captains and deputy captains of the RFS who resigned in disgust, there is still widespread discontent across all the volunteer RFS and SES units about lack of consultation, and there are many disgruntled career officers across the services because of your mismanagement of the restructuring of the emergency services organisation. Minister, why have you failed to address the fundamental issues around your restructuring of the emergency services and the relocation of emergency services back into JACS?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. I think that this budget says it all when it comes to the effectiveness of the organisation to communicate to me as the minister and to the government what resources the emergency services need. I think that this budget says it all in demonstrating to volunteers and professional paid staff on the ground that, when it comes to getting the message through about what resources are needed in our emergency services, our structure delivers.

Let's talk about what has been delivered on the ground for the emergency services personnel and let's demonstrate that the structure works and let's demonstrate that it gets the message through to me as the minister and to the government as a whole as to what our emergency services need. We can have an argument, if you like, about what is the best administrative arrangement, but I will tell you what makes the difference on the fire ground, makes the difference in the storm event or makes the difference in the flood event. It is not the administrative arrangement. It is about whether or not the emergency services personnel have the equipment and the training that they need to do the job. That is what makes the difference.

That is why this government has invested $61/2 million in the most significant vehicle replacement program in the ESA for over a decade. The $61/2 million will replace 32 vehicles over the next three years, including a large number of light units, heavy tankers, command vehicles and urban fire appliances. That is the level of investment


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