Page 2274 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
learn—as we have from discussions with Tharwa residents—what their needs are. They were very comfortable at the time to receive the support that was being provided by the government, particularly in the construction of new tanks to support firefighting and water supplies for the village.
MS LAWDER: Minister, why can’t you allow piped water to Tharwa, as you have for Uriarra Village, for firefighting purposes—especially during a drought where it may be harder to pump water from the river—as well as providing other potable water for the village at Tharwa?
MR GENTLEMAN: I have gone through the detail of the needs of the village, particularly in relation to firefighting, and commented that the services provided to the village are quite sufficient at the moment. In fact, the village itself commented on the support from the ACT government for firefighting services for the village. So we have not revisited the question on whether potable water is required.
DR PATERSON: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, how is the 2022-23 ACT budget supporting the health workforce now and into the future?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you Madam Speaker, and I thank Dr Paterson for her question. I again recognise that the past two and a half, or really three years, have been incredibly tough. This is one of the reasons why the 2022-23 budget has a significant focus on our health workforce in the ACT.
Through this budget Madam Speaker, we are delivering on our commitment to recruit 400 more health professionals ahead of schedule. We know reducing pressure on our front-line workforce with more people will lighten the load. More nurses, more midwives, more doctors, more allied health professionals, and more support staff.
In this budget we are making a very significant investment, particularly in the allied health workforce. More than $16 million to massively expand the allied health workforce of Canberra Health Services. Importantly, Madam Speaker, this will support our multi-disciplinary teams and deliver better outcomes for our community. It is about thinking holistically and looking at what we can do to take pressure off.
The 2022-23 budget includes investment in system-wide workforce planning as well. This is part of a package of initiatives to address workforce planning now, and to ensure our health workforce is sustainable into the future. This builds on the dedicated maternity workforce plan that is part of a $12 million investment in maternity.
The ACT government is also investing more than $7 million to embed a safer culture, focus on wellbeing, and support our dedicated nurses and midwives. We are expanding occupational violence resources across the hospitals. We are tripling our investment in the Nurses and Midwives: towards a safer culture strategy, developed with the union, and continues the partnership with the ANMF.