Page 3111 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022

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ambulance. There are significant parts of our community who do not have to worry about the cost of an ambulance—those lucky enough to have private health insurance or those who meet a range of circumstances where the ambulance fee is waived. But there is a significant proportion of our community for whom the outlay for an ambulance weighs heavily on their minds when deciding whether to call for one, wasting valuable time during which their condition may deteriorate, worsening their medical prognosis, prolonging recovery times, causing more stress when the bill arrives, and eventually costing the health system more in the long run.

We are a human rights jurisdiction in the ACT. There do, however, appear to be challenges in ensuring that the human rights of people who are detained by the ACT police are maintained. I note the announcement in the government response to the estimates committee’s recommendation No 83:

The ACT Government has been advised that the AFP Operational Safety Committee will undertake an internal review into the use of spit hoods.

I welcome such a review, and I look forward to seeing its outcome. I do question whether the review will consider detainees’ human rights or whether it is compliant with the UN optional protocol to the prevention of torture.

I note recent announcements that the Queensland police, following a similar review, determined that alternative measures were sufficient to keep police officers safe. I note that New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmanian and South Australian police have all decided to do away with spit hoods and that they can keep their police officers safe via other measures.

Even the remainder of the AFP do not use spit hoods; only the ACT Policing division does. I repeat the question: why do the ACT police see the need to use spit hoods when all of these other jurisdictions and police forces do not?

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.49): I rise today to comment on the emergency services provisions in the budget—or, should I say, the lack of provisions, because this budget does not promise much, and delivers even less, for the hardworking ACT emergency services personnel.

Our emergency services have been waiting for the employment of new staff and the upgrading and building of new facilities. Unfortunately, they will have to wait for another year. “Expect”, “intend”, and “intention”: these are the words scattered throughout Mr Gentleman’s responses to a variety of questions taken on notice during estimates. They reflect the moving feast that is the money that will be, hopefully, one day spent on this portfolio.

Let me begin by quickly reviewing what we know so far about the promised upgrades for the Joint Emergency Services Centre in Gungahlin. The 2021-22 budget promised to deliver the upgrade, beginning last year. However, only a small proportion of the funding was spent, with the large bulk of it, $6 million, pushed out to next year. In response to a question on notice, the minister stated that only next year could the people of Gungahlin expect to see the ACT SES and ACT RFS relocate out of the current facility to make way for the upgrades.

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