Page 2846 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 October 2022
on the day of the storm only seven Evoenergy electricity workers were on shift and there were only six contact centre staff to handle over 1,800 fault and emergency calls. The committee made several recommendations. One recommendation is that Evoenergy increase its minimum staffing levels over holiday periods. Minister, will you, as a matter of urgency, discuss with Evoenergy the importance of having more staff on shift during the upcoming summer holiday period?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the question. In my portfolio I have the ESA. The minister for energy has Evoenergy in his portfolio. I will say that I am incredibly proud of the work that ESA did during that storm front. They set up a community hub pretty quickly and were able to service the needs of the majority of people looking for support after the initial storm and during the clean-up as well.
Some parts of the clean-up did take longer. Some restoration of the power supply, as Mrs Kikkert has indicated, did take longer as well. Certainly, government would be supportive of ensuring that we have the right number of people to respond to those needs when they occur. It would not be just on weekends. It would be when the storm and hazard seasons occur. We do ramp up. The ESA has already been preparing for the next storm and hazard season as we come to the end of this year.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister—the relevant minister—as a matter of urgency, will you discuss with Evoenergy the importance of acting on some of the more urgent recommendations, such as establishing a vulnerable persons contact list?
MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, certainly.
MR CAIN: Minister, how will you prioritise the implementation of the select committee’s recommendations as far as your portfolio responsibilities go?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Cain for the question. It is an important one, as we look at resources for ESA and what is available at this time. Each year we invest more in ESA so that they can respond to these particular events. We will be looking at those recommendations and ensuring that we can meet them, where possible, with the current resources or new resources as we go forward through the budget period.
MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you please outline how this year’s budget delivers more health services, more doctors, more nurses, more midwives, and more allied health professionals for Canberra?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. Of course the ACT government does continue to make record investments in our public health system to ensure that our dedicated healthcare workforce is supported to deliver world-class services to our community. The 2022-23 budget injects $393 million over four years into new healthcare services and infrastructure. We are ahead of schedule in our commitment to employ an additional 400 doctors, nurses, and allied health workers in this term. In fact, we are on target to exceed that original commitment, and now expect to employ over 500 additional healthcare workers over that time frame.