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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1072 ..

their local school communities and that every family and school student has a place at their local school.

ACT Fire & Rescue—funding

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. How is the government investing in ACT Fire & Rescue to ensure we have a skilled and resilient workforce into the future?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Orr for her interest in keeping the Canberra community safe. The ACT government understands the importance of investing in our firefighters and maintaining a skilled and resilient Fire & Rescue workforce. We are committed to developing leaders at every level, growing expertise and fostering innovation while continuing to focus on the health and wellbeing of our firefighters.

Our investment in the ACT Fire & Rescue enterprise agreement will see: even more firefighters recruited, new equipment and improved facilities, to ensure our firefighters can continue to protect our growing city. It is focused on building a modernised fire service and meeting the needs of firefighters including investments in recruitment, health, wellbeing and safety initiatives and skills and training incentives. The ACT Fire & Rescue enterprise agreement will ensure that our firefighters continue to be well resourced, well trained, well protected and well supported.

A signed agreement reflects the ACT government’s understanding of the importance of investing in the future of the urban fire service and is consistent with the government’s priority on community safety and support when it matters.

MS ORR: How many additional firefighters is the government recruiting to maintain community safety?

MR GENTLEMAN: The government has committed to funding more highly trained and skilled emergency services personnel, and as part of the ACT Fire & Rescue enterprise agreement the Emergency Services Agency intends to recruit 180 firefighters, including 99 additional positions, over the next five years. This includes staff required for the new Acton and Molonglo stations, crewing of the new aerial pumper, staff to cover attrition, and an increase to the relief ratio.

Two recruit colleges will be run per year over the next five years. I am pleased to report that the first cohort of recruits for 2021 commenced in February. This class is currently going through 20 weeks of rigorous training in both theoretical and practical applications before their final assessments and graduation in June this year. I wish the new recruits well in their training and all the best for their future careers. Their addition to the ranks of ACT Fire & Rescue will ensure that Canberra remains a safe and well-protected city into the future.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how does the ACT Fire & Rescue enterprise agreement build on the government’s strong record of investment in the branch?

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