Page 1823 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022

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But in regard to supporting them in the funding sense, every single year we have added more funds and more resources for our frontline services, and every single year the Canberra Liberals have voted against it.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, when will you employ the new staff that you promised two years ago?

MR GENTLEMAN: We have been employing the staff. Of course, there have been recruit colleges through that period of time, particularly for Fire and Rescue and the ACT Ambulance Service. That continues to be ongoing. We have 53 additional paramedics, seven additional ambulances and powered stretchers in all emergency ambulance vehicles, which will reduce physical demands on paramedics and improve patient safety. That has occurred with the previous funding that has been delivered. In August 2020, the government announced funding of over $45 million for the design and construction of a joint fire and ambulance station at Acton, and that is progressing as well. We have also announced $14.1 million to continue funding the PACER operation over the next four years. That is health led, of course, but we support them with ambulance services and ACT Policing.

DR PATERSON: Today is Thank a First Responder Day. I was wondering if there were words from the ACT government to thank first responders in the ACT.

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Paterson for reminding all of us that it is Thank a First Responder Day. It is very important for our Canberra community to thank their first responders. We, as a government, do. They go out of their way every day to provide safety for Canberrans. I and the chief officers today have put out some social media thanking our first responders. Can I also say that we thank not just our first responders but their families as well, because they are the ones who have to manage the shift work responsibilities that our staff have and sometimes the difficult situations that they go through. So, thank you to our first responders.

Planning—crematorium facilities

MS CLAY: My question is to the minister for planning. Minister, I have previously asked questions of you and the minister for city services about how many crematoria Canberra needs. The last response from the minister for city services said current cremation capacity was sufficient in Canberra and the proposed government facility in Southern Memorial Park will meet Canberra’s future needs. Minister, can you tell me whether Canberra needs an additional privately-run crematorium near Callum Brae Nature Reserve, given that the city services minister says current and future government facilities will cover our needs?

MR GENTLEMAN: I am not sure if it is up to me to decide whether or not Canberra requires a further crematorium. With regard to planning and land management, there is an active development application for this project. In that sense, I would not be able to comment while that application is active with the independent Planning and Land Authority.

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