Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5099 ..
MR RAMSAY: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. Again, the connection between the first part of the question and the second part is, I think, problematic. The assumption in the question is that Canberra is unsafe. Let me say that that is clearly not true. I think it is important to repeat that Canberra is a safe place to live and we do not believe in the politics of fear and scaring that clearly is the case for those members opposite and those members in other jurisdictions with the same flavour as our Canberra Liberals.
We will continue to roll out improvements to the criminal justice system. We will continue to improve, as we have invested significantly already. What we will do is reaffirm that Canberra is a safe place and we will continue to work on improving the justice system.
Emergency services—minimum crewing
MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. I refer to the circumstances where ACT firefighters responded to 201 medical assists in the 2015 calendar year, and 368 for the 2017-18 financial year, an increase of 83 per cent with no increase in crewing. This week you told the Assembly that you have done away with existing minimum crewing levels for ACT ambulances. Minister, what calculations have you made for the additional firefighting staff which will be required to make up for the lack of ambulance officers, given that the firies have had to respond to a growing number of ambulance calls when the ambulances are not available?
MR GENTLEMAN: There is no lack of ambulance officers in the ACT. In fact we have recruited 23 more, and we have more ambulance vehicles coming on the road as well. We find front-line services to be very important. That is why this government has resourced them. We have resourced firefighters, paramedics and police across our budget years. Of course, the Canberra Liberals voted against the budget which provided resourcing for our front-line services, so I note the hypocrisy in the question. We will continue, of course, to resource our front-line services, unlike those opposite.
MRS JONES: What consultation have you undertaken with the firies or their representatives about the additional work they will have to undertake?
MR GENTLEMAN: I have met with the firefighters union and the individual firefighters as I have been visiting stations to discuss their operations. But I do not involve myself in their operations. I stay back on the policy and resource side and let their operational staff do that work for them.
MR PARTON: Minister, what allowance have you made for additional firefighters to respond to ambulance calls when an ambulance is not available and firefighters will have to be the first responders?
MR GENTLEMAN: As members will recall, I announced just the other day a new recruit college for firefighters. That will start just after Christmas. In the meantime we are doing a lateral recruitment drive to ensure that our firefighter numbers are up to