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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 November 2006) . . Page.. 3529 ..

People ring in and say, “We are unable to perform the shift that we are rostered to perform.” That is, obviously, of concern. It means that it is difficult to always fill the full shift when people ring in and say, “We are unable to do the shift.” There may be very legitimate reasons why they are unable to do the shift, but it means that the shift roster falls short of the full complement. In those circumstances, I know that the ambulance service does everything possible to find last-minute replacements.

I am also very conscious of the workload that our paramedics and other members of the ambulance service are currently facing. There has been a significant increase in the workload. The government is considering that issue as we move into next year’s budget.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why do so many front-line ambulance crews now express concern and alarm that they are being forced to do so much overtime to maintain seven fully manned ambulance crews around the clock?

MR CORBELL: No-one is forced to do overtime. Our ambulance officers have a high level of commitment and professionalism to their job and the work that they do for our community. Obviously, when overtime is offered to them, they feel a high level of commitment to the work that they do and make themselves available for overtime. I am very appreciative of that. The increase in their workload is of concern to me. I have already said that publicly on the record. I am confident that these difficulties will receive close consideration as we head into next year’s budget process.

Schools—environmental sustainability

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Can the minister please inform the Assembly of what the government is doing regarding environmental sustainability in ACT schools?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question. There is no doubt that ecological sustainability is an important and topical issue. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that the ACT government is embracing ecological sustainability in our schools. We promote a whole-of-building approach to design in upgrading existing facilities and in building new facilities. This sustainable design approach is about making buildings more energy efficient, improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This approach has been incorporated in our new and existing buildings where possible.

An example is the new Harrison school. It is being built with a green building approach. Emphasis is given to making the building energy efficient, improving quality, capturing and storing rainwater for recycling, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The design features addressing ecological sustainability at the Harrison school include natural ventilation in all buildings; night cooling and purging, by utilising differences in temperature; individual buildings containing their own gas-fired boiler; high thermal mass construction, to be used to maximise the heat bank characteristics of the buildings; optimisation of daylight to reduce the need for artificial light; rainwater collection to provide water reuse for toilet flushing, plant and garden bed irrigation

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