Page 1824 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022

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MS CLAY: Minister, what planning tools are available to government to ensure that Canberra does not get an oversupply of crematoria?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Clay for the question. I guess, as we develop the city, we look at town centres and the responsibility of government to ensure that outcomes in those town centres and geographical areas have all the community facilities that are required by that group. That is normally formed in the estate development plans for those areas, such as shopping centres and community facilities. In that regard, I guess the planning authority would have a view as to this particular facility. As I said, though, there is an active DA so I will not be commenting particularly on the details of it.

MR BRADDOCK: Minister, would a planning review ensure Canberra gets the crematoria it needs where it needs them?

MR GENTLEMAN: I think we will see that as we go to the detail stage in looking at district planning. At the moment the act is in play and people are making comment on that, which has been very well received at this point; the commentary has been well received by the Planning and Land Authority. I am looking forward to that going through and the presentation of the bill again to the Assembly in the not too distant future. We will see how we go through the feedback from the Canberra community on the district planning matters.

Emergency services—staffing

MR MILLIGAN: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, in the last two years emergency services have seen a nine per cent and 15 per cent increase in administrative and executive staff respectively, yet there have been only a seven per cent and a five per cent increase in ambulance and Fire & Rescue officers. Minister, why has more attention not been paid to increasing frontline staff?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Milligan for the question. I reject the premise of the question. There has been an increased focus on frontline staff. As I mentioned earlier on, the funding that we put through in concurrent budgets has added significant resources to ESA, ACTAS, Fire & Rescue and our other emergency services, including ACT Policing, to ensure that we can recruit. There has been active recruitment going on, and not just normal recruitment either, because we are finding it difficult to get some staff for frontline services. We have been looking at lateral recruitment, too, from other jurisdictions, which has had some success.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, why are office staff being prioritised over frontline staff when there is an expected increase in demand due to winter staffing and COVID?

MR GENTLEMAN: As I said in my previous answer, it is not the case. Our priority is certainly on frontline staff. The agreement with firefighters was for 99 new firefighters over the forward years. That is an extraordinary agreement, an extraordinary EBA for Australia, I think. You can see the outcome from that, with the

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