Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 October 2022) . . Page.. 3435 ..
MADAM SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.
Ms Castley: Just to help. Relevance.
MADAM SPEAKER: The question asked he is taking on notice.
Ms Castley: I was just helping him with his question taken on notice.
MADAM SPEAKER: Perhaps you can do that offline, Ms Castley.
ACT Ambulance Service—fees
MR BRADDOCK: My question is to the Acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, ambulance fees in the ACT are close to $1,000 a ride. These fees may result in delays to calling an ambulance and also cause financial hardship for vulnerable communities. Given that several other jurisdictions have waived these fees for individuals and funded the ambulance service through other mechanisms, can the minister tell us if the government is considering any other options to reduce ambulance fees?
MR STEEL: I thank Mr Braddock for his question about our Ambulance Service. The ACT government is committed to a well-funded Ambulance Service providing both treatment and transport. Mr Braddock is somewhat correct. I am not sure I would use the word “several”, but I can confirm that two jurisdictions do not levy fees or charges on patients for an ambulance in attendance or for transport. All other jurisdictions do have fees in place. The purpose of that is to help cover the costs of delivering these vital services to the community.
The ACT government is not considering, at this point in time, changes to that fee-charging model, which is needed to ensure that we have a well-funded system that delivers. But we also recognise that, whilst we have the highest proportion of Canberrans covered by private health insurance, which typically does cover ambulance fees, there are some people in our community who may struggle with the payment of those fees. Indeed, many of those people do not choose to necessarily use the Ambulance Service when they are experiencing a health issue that requires ambulance attendance.
There are a range of exemptions that are available for members of the community. I am happy to provide those to Mr Braddock. They are also available on the ACTAS website. They include people who are on a healthcare card; ACT school students who become ill on approved excursions; as well as where ambulance services are provided to a person in relation to performing a good Samaritan act; and ambulance services provided to the scene of an accident involving a motor vehicle on a road in the ACT where the vehicle is covered by the MAI— (Time expired.)
MR BRADDOCK: Minister, does the government have any evidence of people not calling an ambulance due to the cost?
MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. I am happy to take that question on notice. I am personally not aware of it. I can understand why people might be