Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 1 December 2022) . . Page.. 4166 ..
highly concerned about. We have all seen the chalk messages scrawled on ACT ambulances that they are not triple-okay. Hence, it is important that their issues can be brought into this chamber for debate.
Medical emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye. The community, quite rightly, hopes and expects that when they do happen, they will receive prompt and professional care. Ambos are the unsung heroes of the emergency services world, quietly responding 65,496 times in the past financial year. That equates to a response, on average, every eight minutes—24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This is a massive task that falls on the shoulders of 267 ambulance officers.
For those who are ambulance officers, many have spoken of it as a calling. They describe it as a sense of quiet pride in making a real difference to their community, helping people when they need it most. They enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being part of a team. But we also need to recognise that the lot of an ambo is a difficult one. Ambos are more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder than any other emergency service. Stress and burnout severely impact at both an individual and a workforce level. In many of my conversations with ambos I have noted a sense of bubbling frustration. This workforce is speaking and we should be listening.
The Greens believe that free and independent democratic unions are an essential pillar of our society. The right to be a member of a union and collectively bargain is essential to achieving a sustainable and democratic future. Workers and their representatives are entitled to democratic participation in decisions about the future direction and the development of the organisations for which they work. The ambulance officers, through the Transport Workers Union, are now calling for an improved rostering system, more support from the Emergency Services Agency and better working conditions.
It is important that the ACT government set a good example of good industrial relations policies and practices that respects our staff and offer conditions that attract and retain quality staff, and also that a balance between paid work and personal time, with fair pay for overtime and unsociable working hours, is achieved. As we progress through the enterprise bargaining agreement process, we need to negotiate in good faith and provide the support that our ambos are calling out for to practise their calling.
MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (4.08): I want to thank the minister for taking the challenge of this motion in this positive way. It is great to hear that he will report to the Assembly the progress that is being made towards solving this issue. Yes, he has made some changes to the motion, but they do not alter the facts that I raised in my opening speech.
The speech was about the motion. It was about the paramedics and the people of Canberra who are concerned about not having enough paramedics and who want to know that their health and wellbeing are important to this government. It was about the paramedics on the ground, who are doing it tough and who tell me that they do not feel listened to, who are feeling ignored—to such an extent that they passed a vote of no confidence in the leadership. That is rough on the person at the centre of the vote of no confidence but also rough on those taking that action because they show that they are at their wit’s end with this matter.