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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2724 ..

particular, we are recruiting six additional communication centre clinicians, three call takers, a specialised training and development position and one additional management position. These positions will assist us in managing demand in the ambulance service.

I know that many members have been concerned about the pressures placed on our ambulance service and it is a concern shared by the government. The government has responded to this by recruiting these additional positions. These positions mean we will be able to better triage call taking, better triage those calls when they come into the emergency communications centre, and make sure they are appropriately triaged, appropriately given a priority, so that the ambulance is sent to where it is most needed to meet demand and to provide the best quality service to our community. We can do that, of course, by making sure we have a higher level of clinical training amongst the call takers so that they can assess, according to set criteria, the urgency of the case and dispatch ambulances accordingly.

This is an important measure to help us mange demand and, of course, one that I note was dismissed by the Liberal Party but, indeed, one that was recommended by both the Auditor-General and by the Lennox review into ambulance services as an appropriate way of tackling demand, making sure we use our resources effectively and continuing to provide the high quality ambulance service that our community expects.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, how has the recent Fair Work Australia decision about pay scales and work value benefited the ACT Ambulance Service in terms of attracting new recruits from over the border?

MR CORBELL: There is no doubt that the recent work value case has been a significant incentive for people expressing interest in working with the ACT Ambulance Service. Members would be aware that the recent work value case completed through Fair Work Australia and the decision of Commissioner Deegan has confirmed that base salary rates for intensive care paramedics will be increased by up to 21 per cent as a result of the recognition of the professional standing and expertise of our intensive care paramedics. They perform a vital role in our community.

We are proud as a jurisdiction to have one of the best trained, indeed the best trained, ambulance service in the country. This new work value case has given appropriate recognition of the skill set available from our intensive care paramedics and placed them on a commensurate salary with that of similar health professionals in other parts of the health sector. This will mean that ACT intensive care paramedics will be amongst the highest paid in the country. It will add to our capacity to attract and retain qualified and skilled professionals. That has certainly been confirmed by the recent high level of expressions of interest from the recent advertising round.

MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

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