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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3820 ..

MR HARGREAVES (12.19): I move:

Page 2, line 5, subclause (1), definition of "Ambulance Service", omit the definition.

Mr Speaker, the Opposition opposes the inclusion of the Ambulance Service in this legislation. It supports ambulance legislation in the form we see here but not within this legislation. This amendment removes reference to the Ambulance Service fairly early in the piece. We will address this matter in more detail later. Essentially, the Opposition opposes any references to the Ambulance Service as a service within the context of this legislation.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (12.20): Mr Speaker, I rise to oppose this amendment. I assume Mr Hargreaves is going to treat his first amendment as an indication of whether the Assembly will support or oppose his amendments generally to do with the Ambulance Service being excised from the emergency management legislation. On that basis, let me say very clearly that there has to be a strong reason not to include in emergency management legislation a critical agency that delivers emergency services in the ACT.

When people think about emergencies in the ACT, they instinctively think about the Ambulance Service. It responds to more emergencies, in the sense of someone facing a crisis other than a crisis to do with a breach of the law, in the non-police sense, than does any other agency in the ACT. Yet we are being asked here to remove them from the Emergency Management Bill.

I heard Ms Tucker say she supported the Labor Party amendments on this score. She has not discussed that with me. I would ask her to consider the logic of saying we should remove from the legislation an agency which is critical to delivery of emergency services in the ACT. It is very hard to imagine why you would not have an agency like the Ambulance Service in this legislation.

Mr Hargreaves says that it is inappropriate to have the Ambulance Service in this legislation; that they should be in a separate Act. With great respect to him, he has not made that case at all. Why should it be in a separate Act? Why can it not be in the Emergency Management Act, where people naturally would look to find what provisions govern the treatment of emergencies in the ACT? This approach is the one that is going to be picked up in most, if not all, other jurisdictions in Australia. Why would we be different in the ACT?

The second concern is that I know this move is not supported by the Ambulance Service itself. I understand - I cannot say that I have actually spoken to him - that the head of the Transport Workers Union in the ACT, which covers ambulance workers, has not indicated, publicly at least, any support for the proposal Mr Hargreaves is making. Why are we doing this? Why are we taking these provisions out of the legislation? If we do not have the Ambulance Service in the legislation, presumably in due course we will not

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