Page 521 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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bus station. But as I have said, when it comes to cardiac arrest, timing is everything and resuscitation in the first few minutes is vital. So we need defibrillators on buses, not just at the seven major bus stations.

It is interesting that Minister Steel also highlighted in his letter that there are defibrillators on all 14 light rail vehicles. Not one of these 14 defibs was funded by this government, which speaks volumes about the government’s commitment to the health and safety of Canberra’s light rail passengers. They were funded by the Rotary Club of Aurora Gungahlin. In a letter to the Canberra Times on 28 October 2020, club treasurer Denis Waters writes:

During the planning phase at least two cardiac incidents occurred on the trams. With an ageing population, the ACT government can’t keep depending on service clubs to install life saving infrastructure in the community.

Mr Waters from the Rotary Club of Aurora Gungahlin is right. So too are St John Ambulance, Australian Red Cross and the Heart Foundation. Sadly, they know this issue far better than any of us, which is why they strongly support this motion calling on the government to show nation-first leadership on this important health and community issue.

A Canberra Times headline best sums it up: “Time for the government to act on defibrillator shortage”. Yes, it is time. It is time for the government to show it cares about the lives of its teachers and public servants, of our students and of all Canberrans, by committing to a program to roll out defibrillators in our government schools and workplaces, backing that up with legislation making them requirements, and also implementing a public awareness campaign and examining defibs on all of our buses—not relying on our service clubs to do the job for them.

Defibrillators are commonplace in our sporting clubs and shopping centres. My hope is that one day they will become a safety norm like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. This is a simple and effective way to give Canberrans more peace of mind, and I urge the health minister to support it.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (2.59): I rise to speak to Ms Castley’s motion, and I move the following amendment:

Omit all text after “That this Assembly”, substitute:

“(1) notes:

(a) it is estimated more than 30 000 Australians suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) every year of which only five percent survive;

(b) the chances of survival decrease by up to 10 percent for every minute that passes;

(c) defibrillators save lives. St John Ambulance estimates that each year more than 100 Canberrans’ lives could be saved from SCA if defibrillators were installed in ACT government schools and workplaces;

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