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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3815 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

public arena. We will see what comes out of that. I know it is the Government's aim to collapse the entire emergency service legislation into one Act, but we do not want that to happen.

The standing committee was able to examine legislation from other States and to consult with Australian emergency management experts and other affected stakeholders such as unions, the non-government sector and public service departments. This will ensure that Canberra has the best possible emergency legislation. It is during an emergency when time is of the essence. Any complication, even a minor one, could result in the loss of a life or a person sustaining serious injury. We do not want to allow that to occur. The onus is on members of the Assembly to ensure that the most effective and efficient legislation is in place for our services.

I will now briefly discuss the uniqueness of the Ambulance Service. The ALP believes that the Ambulance Service ought to be a unique service, in much the same way as the Fire Brigade is a unique service. Even our police force is a unique service. I see those entities existing in structures which acknowledge their uniqueness. They are services which have a particular technical uniqueness. They have to operate within a military model, and I believe that they ought to have their own piece of legislation.

That is not to say that they necessarily have to be within administrative arrangements which do not engender a closeness between the services. It does not necessarily mean that we have to have service A under this department and service B under that department. There is nothing wrong with them operating under the same infrastructure, provided that infrastructure is working. There is some argument that the Ambulance Service is part of the health service, or should be, and not part of the emergency services; it is more closely allied with that set of professional disciplines.

There have been changes over time. The Ambulance Service has been part of various departments over its life, and no doubt things will change again in the future. The Ambulance Service having its own piece of legislation is no impediment to the bringing together of emergency services to work in a close-knit jigsaw.

I foreshadow that we have some amendments and that I am predominantly supporting the Government's amendments.

MS TUCKER (12.04): I have examined the detail of this Bill, the report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community and Safety on the Bill and the Government's response to that report. From this consideration, the Greens have decided to support the Bill in principle and also the recommendations of the Justice and Community Safety Committee report. I will also be supporting most of the Government's amendments, which basically reflect the recommendations of the committee. However, we have some concerns with the Government's response in relation to the Ambulance Service.

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