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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1073 ..


MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Pettersson for his interest in the staff at Fire & Rescue. The government values and supports the work of all its emergency services personnel and we have a proven record of increased investment in our emergency services. For our urban firefighters this has been demonstrated over many years, including: $270,000 in the 2018-19 budget to provide new protective helmets for ACT Fire & Rescue; $2 million in the 2018-19 budget for a new aerial pumper; $2.2 million in the 2019-20 budget for a replacement for the existing aerial platform; $2.3 million announced in January 2019 to roll out our next generation structural firefighting protective clothing for all ACT Fire & Rescue firefighters; $939,000 in the 2019-20 budget to investigate new fire and ambulance stations in the city centre and in the Molonglo Valley; and $45 million announced in August 2020 for the design and construction of the new joint fire and ambulance station at Acton.

The government has also allocated various funding amounts over many years for recruit colleges, providing for more firefighters to protect and support the Canberra community, as well as the commitment to building a new fire and ambulance station in the Molonglo Valley. The new stations in Acton and Molonglo will provide well designed state-of-the-art and fit-for-purpose facilities that are strategically located to allow for faster response times, which has a direct impact, of course, on community safety. The government will continue to build on our strong record of investment in our emergency services.

Schools—maintenance

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Minister, many ACT schools cannot do important maintenance and upgrades, because of delays due to testing and removing toxic materials. A common complaint of students and parents is the poor state of school toilets. Given that many students do not use their school toilets, because of disrepair, because of poor lighting or simply because they are filthy, what do you say to the parents of these children, who, I am told, often return home soiled?

MS BERRY: Through COVID and through this year, I have to acknowledge the work of our school communities, particularly the school cleaners now directly employed by the ACT government, who have spent a significant amount of time cleaning their schools and also making sure that their schools are cleaner than ever, because of the additional cleaners who were engaged across our school communities, making sure that our school communities were safe.

If there are concerns that Mr Parton has received from members of school communities in his electorate, I would ask that he forward them on to my office, although I have not heard in my office about issues with regard to children returning home because they were not using the toilets at their school.

I also reject that our schools are not able to use facilities to conduct education for their students and make sure that teachers have safe workplaces due to the work that is being done in those schools to make sure that they are safe—work that is guided by the experts, guided by scientific backing around how those materials are managed and


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