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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1860..


MR COE: Chief Minister, which minister will be delivering the health infrastructure budget following the appointment of a sixth minister?

MS GALLAGHER: I hold the title of being the longest serving health minister in the country. I have to say it is an honour holding the portfolio. It is an honour for anyone who holds the portfolio and has the responsibility and the ability to deliver such key infrastructure for the territory.

Budget—emergency services

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, the government has announced an extra $48.8 million in the 2014-15 budget for emergency services. Can you please outline to the Assembly what this substantial investment in the territory's emergency services is for?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question and I am very pleased to outline to the Assembly the significant investment the Labor government is making in further strengthening the capability and resources of our emergency services. The funding, in total $48.8 million, is going to a range of very important projects.

First of all, we will see a new ambulance and fire station for Belconnen, with the development of a joint ambulance and fire station facility in Aranda. This new facility is modelled on the successful experience of the west Belconnen fire and ambulance station, and of course the south Tuggeranong fire station, which is currently under construction to deliver better fire cover for the southern areas of Tuggeranong. The Aranda station will provide joint fire and ambulance facilities to allow the existing fire and ambulance facilities in the Belconnen town centre on Rae Street to be retired and relocated to a more effective location to maintain effective fire cover and ambulance cover.

I am very pleased to see this funding in the budget, because it is the completion of Labor's election commitments to deliver three new important fire and ambulance facilities for the Canberra community as the first stage of the station upgrade and relocation program. We went to the last election promising funding to deliver a new fire station in Tuggeranong and a new fire and ambulance station in Belconnen, and we have met both of those commitments. These new facilities, I know, will be warmly welcomed by the Canberra community, in particular the local neighbourhoods that they will be directly serving.

Secondly, there is $7.4 million to upgrade the territory radio network and the computer-aided dispatch system in the 000 call-taking centre. This is a very important investment in the maintenance of capability to both manage radio communications and ensure that computer-aided dispatch for 000 call taking is maintained at a very high level of reliability. This is very important because we know how critical radio communications are, particularly in the context of a large-scale incident. The government invested significantly in this technological capability following the reviews into the 2003 bushfire disaster, and we are maintaining and further strengthening that capability. We are also maintaining the trial of the ACT Ambulance


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