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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3143 ..


have more capacity to raise revenue than states or territories do, and we really need them to take this joint responsibility.

But they also need to work with us to deliver a more integrated health system, to really ensure that primary care is delivering the care that it can, and it should be doing, and that our systems can work better together. This is not just about the money; it is about a major reform program. It would be great if the commonwealth came to the table to be part of that reform program, as every stakeholder and every state and territory health minister is calling on them to do.

MR CAIN: Why, as the commonwealth increases its per-person spend and the ACT does not, do you continue to consider the commonwealth to be the problem?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I refer Mr Cain to my previous answer.

MRS JONES: Minister, why, as our city grows and the ACT government’s income grows with the higher population and higher taxation rates, is this not reflected in the per-person hospital spend in real terms of this government?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Jones for the supplementary question, but I think that when we talk about per-person funding, we are in fact reflecting population growth.

Emergency services—Rural Fire Services and State Emergency Service

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, how is the ACT government supporting volunteers across the ACT RFS and ACT SES throughout the 2021-22 bushfire and storm season?

MR GENTLEMAN: I recognise Ms Orr’s support for volunteers across the ACT. I want to begin by acknowledging the hardworking volunteers of the ACT Rural Fire Service and the ACT State Emergency Service, who have been proactively preparing for the 2021-22 season. I also want to thank the families, friends, partners and workplaces of our volunteers, whose support enables them to continue to serve our community.

The ACT government is supporting our volunteers throughout the 2021-22 season to enable them to prepare and respond to emergency events despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. We have put in place strong business continuity plans to manage a range of impacts which could affect our volunteers, including the impact of COVID-19. Each service has a COVID-19 protocol in place to ensure optimal safety for our members and the community. This includes COVID protocols for any cross-border operations with our New South Wales counterparts, and volunteers have access to virtual planning workshops and preparedness briefings and have been provided with ongoing skills and maintenance training.

The ACT government has also introduced new processes to further support our volunteers and improve their experience throughout the season. The ESA has established a new volunteer management process focused on training, community


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