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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4812 ..

Improving the health and wellbeing of all emergency services personnel, including our paramedics, is also a key priority for this government. In support of this, the government has committed to rolling out electric stretchers and power loaders to all ACT ambulances. Five new state-of-the-art replacement ambulances arrived in August 2018, fitted with electric stretchers. A further two ambulances are to be delivered by the end of this year. The rollout for the entire ACTAS fleet is on track to be completed by 2020. The government recognises the stress factors of being a paramedic. It is important that all emergency services personnel are aware of available support services and that they know we fully support them in minimising exposure to stressors and in recovering from any ill effects experienced in their line of work.

I would encourage members to go to the Parliament House website and read the written submissions received in relation to a current Senate inquiry into the role of commonwealth, state and territory governments in addressing the high rates of mental health conditions experienced by first responders, emergency service workers and volunteers. In particular, I draw members’ attention to a submission by the ESA commissioner, Mr Dominic Lane, which is consistent with the government’s focus on improving support for emergency services first responders. On 7 November 2018 Mr Lane and the ACTAS chief officer, Mr Howard Wren, were invited to give evidence at one of the public hearings in relation to this submission.

I note that the Senate committee is expected to provide a report in February 2019. The ACT government will consider what the Senate committee has to say on this important subject and any recommendations made for how we might better support our first responders. For ACTAS, the initiatives referred to in Mr Lane’s submission are being progressed under the blueprint for change program. This ensures that they are underpinned by strong governance and resourcing. The blueprint for change project provides the framework for ACTAS to enhance professionalism by improving cultural standards and addressing workforce concerns around trust, conflict resolution, and leadership.

Following a number of years of hard work and implementation, it is anticipated that the blueprint for change project will transition to a business as usual phase by the end of this year. I have been invited to attend the last blueprint for change oversight committee meeting in the next few weeks to receive an update from the independent chair and committee on this important reform work. Early next year, I intend to provide the Assembly with an update on the blueprint for change project, including the status of all recommendations and the transition to new governance arrangements.

The actions taken by the government demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that Canberra continues to be one of the safest communities in the world to live, while also supporting the professionalism, resourcing and welfare of our dedicated ambulance workforce. I present the following paper:

ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) review on patterns of ambulance demand and crewing—Ministerial statement, 27 November 2018.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

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