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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 476 ..


their proper rest and work balance management. People do not make this stuff up. People in the Ambulance Service are not the type of people to exaggerate. They are the type of people to put their head down and work really hard and do life-saving things every single day for the benefit of every member of our community.

Mr Parton: We should be looking after them.

MRS JONES: We should be looking after them much better.

The minister says that the reasons for overtime include attending events and training or sickness et cetera. These are not unusual events. These are not strange occurrences. If we had had a huge flood or a massive fire and there had been a spike in overtime, everybody would understand it. These are standard, normal parts of operating a shift-work service.

The minister comes in here and claims that 36,000 hours, which must be at least 70 hours a year per person or something like that, even if you take into account the head office staff, is an enormous amount of overtime even for a shift-rostered workforce. The minister knows it and he does not want to accept responsibility for it. He wants to pretend nothing has gone wrong. And it is disingenuous and leaves the men and women of ACTAS feeling like the minister does not actually care about them but cares a lot about himself.

One of the reasons that this motion was brought, and the one last week, is that the men and women of the Ambulance Service, our hardworking ambos, have said to me that pressure is going up and up. And similar to the minister’s response to a question without notice in the chamber yesterday, I wonder if this minister spends much time chatting to the men and women of the ambo service. It is not hard. You just catch up with them, have a chat and ask them how they are going. You open your ears and you listen. It is clearly not happening, because he can stand up here straight-faced and try to be convincing that he thinks there is not a problem, when there is a problem.

My motion has also asked in 2(b) for an explanation for why ACTAS emergency ambulance shifts fell below the minimum crewing level for 41.5 per cent of shifts, despite the 36,000 hours of overtime being worked. That has not in the least bit been explained today, and now the minister, the Greens and the Labor government will use their numbers in this place to vote the motion down so that they never have to explain why they screwed up so badly. But I think the people of the ACT Ambulance Service deserve an explanation.

They are generous and professional. They put their physical and mental wellbeing on the line in the service of others. They put in long days and even longer nights. They miss many important family events: family meals, school assemblies, Saturday sports matches. They put other things in their life on hold to serve the community.

Yet, after these long shifts, they are routinely asked to work overtime, not occasionally, routinely. This was the reason for last week’s motion, and the reason for this week’s motion is that, even after last week’s motion, there was still not an explanation for how we had got to this point. The government thinks that by using its


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