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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3585 ..

whether any of them considered calling an ambulance and, if so, why they did not. Unfortunately, we will never know. But I do know that no-one in our society should be fearful about calling help when they need it.

COVID has demonstrated that financial penalties have a negative impact on public health. If we want our community to be a healthy one, we need to ensure that our medical system does not put barriers in people’s way but ensures that people can do what they medically must: seek out medical attention.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (11.39): I rise briefly to highlight a project much-awaited by the Gungahlin community; the commitments in this budget to upgrade Gungahlin’s emergency services facilities and plan new premises have been welcomed enthusiastically by the community. The Gungahlin community has called for these upgrades for a long time and it is good to see them come to fruition.

The Joint Emergency Services Centre was built at a time when the Gungahlin community was much smaller and much younger. The centre opened in 1998. In the years since, we have seen Gungahlin grow exponentially. With this growth, the community has changed and so have its needs. It is beyond time that our emergency service workers in Gungahlin are given the space and resources they need to operate efficiently.

Funding has been allocated for the fit-out of new premises for the SES and Rural Fire Service and for the design of new premises for the ACT Ambulance Service in the area. This will clear some much-needed space within the existing Joint Emergency Services Centre to ensure that ACT Policing have adequate space to operate efficiently. Funding has also been allocated to upgrade the facilities at the existing emergency centre to ensure that the facility is properly equipped for police officers to perform their duties safely.

These investments in emergency services in Gungahlin will ensure that all members of the community are kept safe and well, long into the future.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (11.41): I want to speak as both the shadow minister for emergency services and also a member for Yerrabi in Gungahlin.

According to the government’s own estimates, Gungahlin is expected to grow to around 90,000 people. This is an increase of 12,000 over the current numbers. Some data suggest that this may go as high as 108,000. This is quite a significant increase, which is why it is surprising that there is such little foresight shown in this budget for providing amenities and services for the community.

The Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre was built in the 1990s, and it is well overdue for an urgent complete refurbishment. It is not equipped to house all five services; it is overcrowded and no longer fit for purpose. Why this was not a priority in the budget, I do not know. For remedial action to be allocated only half a million dollars this year—and it is not clear what that will actually cover—is an insult to our hardworking emergency responders in the centre.

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