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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1482..

Mr Pratt: But not as captains.

MR CORBELL: Well, we understand the symbolic protest that they are making and we treat it seriously. They have not walked away from the RFS. It is not like they are not going to training any more. It is not like they are not showing up at the shed regularly. It is not like they are not communicating with the rest of their brigade members, because they are. Their protest was a serious one, and I treat it seriously.

We will work through these issues with the volunteers. This is not about throwing money at volunteers, hoping that this issue will go away. This is demonstrating yet again the government's serious commitment to improving community safety. It is about ensuring that, as a community, our emergency services have the best possible facilities and equipment to do the job.

It is extraordinary that Mr Pratt would criticise the government for investing in the very issues that the volunteers have been concerned about for so long. Who can forget Mr Pratt's questions earlier this year and late last year about the reliability of the RFS fleet? Do you remember that? Do you remember that Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth stood up and complained and complained and complained about the adequacy and reliability of the aging RFS fleet?

That is the issue of concern to volunteers, and that is the issue that we have addressed. That is what makes the difference on the ground—better equipment, better vehicles, better training and better community safety. That is our commitment to the ACT community.

Budget—skills shortages

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister. I refer to a comment on the budget from Ms Kim Sattler of UnionsACT, and a Labor candidate at the last ACT election, about the failure to provide money to address skill shortages in the community sector. On the ABC Ms Sattler said:

We have shocking skills shortages in that industry but there has been no investment made in developing the community sector workforce whatsoever.

In her press release, Ms Sattler said:

It is a stain on this government that this budget and its surplus have not addressed funding to the community sector workforce.

Minister, why have you failed to invest in addressing skills shortages in the community sector?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. I welcome the opportunity to be able to disagree with that press release for a start and to outline the commitments in this budget that do support the community sector. In fact, the Chief Minister and I have just had the opportunity to talk with the community sector about those initiatives and explain some of the detail behind the initiatives that will benefit the community

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