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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4595 ..

MR CORBELL: All those positions are in the process of being filled or have been filled already. I am happy to provide a more detailed report to Ms Le Couteur in due course.

The ongoing support of our Ambulance Service is a very important priority for the government. The government has invested significantly in both capital and recurrent expenditure for the Ambulance Service to continue to improve its capability to meet rising levels of demand. And there is no doubt that our Ambulance Service is having to meet rising levels of demand, in the same way as ambulance services across the country are facing significant increases in demand.

The government has recently completed, as members would be aware, an analysis of options for improvements to the delivery of ambulance services in the ACT. That report was released at the time of the most recent ACT budget and the government is now working with unions and with the ESA management to identify those measures that need to be taken from that report to further improve the delivery of ambulance services to the ACT community. We will continue to identify those options to make sure we have a long-term funding base to deliver the services that are needed for the Canberra community.

The government is also working to support individual ACT ambulance paramedics. They do an outstanding job and they do an outstanding job often under significant pressure. The government has been pleased to recognise the work value of our paramedics through a recent work value case through the Australian Industrial Relations Commission that has seen the base rate for ambulance paramedics increase by 25 per cent as a result of that work value case to recognise the significant level of skill they are now required to bring to the workplace and the level of immediate pre-hospital care that they provide to the Canberra community.

In relation to the figures and the recruitment process that Ms Le Couteur asked about specifically, I will be happy to provide further detail to Ms Le Couteur in due course.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, while you mention probably some measures, given that the 2010 Lennox review found that the ACT Ambulance Service has a high turnover rate, what measures, apart from those you have mentioned, have been put in place to retain the new recruits?

MR CORBELL: The issue of retention is a challenge. The most valuable investment that a government can make is in the delivery of an improved rate of pay for ambulance officers, recognising their professional expertise. Our ambulance officers, unlike any other ambulance service in the country, trains all of its ambulance personnel who work in front-line ambulances to intensive care paramedic standard. We have 100 per cent coverage of intensive care paramedic standard for front-line ambulances. That makes those individuals very attractive to other ambulance services and to the private sector, because of that level of training.

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