Page 4506 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005
successive budgets, the Stanhope government has invested in the people, equipment and operational support needed to protect Canberra from future emergencies.
This investment has seen significant advances in our response capability. We now have 16 new ambulance officers and 42 new firefighters, with an extra 16 recruits currently undergoing training. We have over 600 trained volunteers for our community fire unit program, 71 new volunteers for the ACT Rural Fire Service and 40 new volunteers for the ACT State Emergency Service. The ACT Fire Brigade now has two new pumpers, four compressed air foam tankers, two new four-wheel drive command vehicles and 28 community fire units, with 450 fully trained volunteers and an additional 300 volunteers in training.
The ACT Rural Fire Service has one new tanker, 21 new slip-on pump units and three new compressed air foam tankers, which I commissioned today. The ACT State Emergency Service has five new command vehicles, and our ambulance service has a new operational support unit for mass casualties and a new patient transport vehicle.
In the last budget money was allocated for seven new intensive care ambulances, one light tanker, one heavy tanker, two four-wheel drive command vehicles, fitout for one HAZMAT vehicle and one state emergency service troop carrier. In addition, just over $1 million was allocated for 31 new monitors, defibrillators and patient care stretchers for the ambulance service to assist patients in life-threatening emergencies.
In addition to this, the government has invested heavily in state of the art communication technology for the ESA. We now have a world-class computer-aided dispatch system, which assists the ambulance service in responding crews to emergencies to make sure they get there as soon as possible with as much information about the emergency as possible.
We have also invested in a trunk radio network, providing cover over the bushfire abatement zone and interoperability between the ESA’s four services, as well as the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. We now have an emergency coordination centre, which brings a more strategic and coordinated approach to emergencies and has assisted the ESA in many instances since its inception, including the management of the white powder incidents that we saw earlier this year.
The Stanhope government has invested heavily in the protection of the Canberra community following the blaze of 2003. I ask those opposite who are so quick and eager to criticise the ESA and people who protect our community: what part of this investment would you have not undertaken? Which emergency services would you cut back if you ever get back into government in the ACT? Until we get answers to these questions from this lazy and superficial opposition, it is a bit rich for them to criticise the government for making the necessary investments in the protection of our community.
Education—greenhouse reduction program
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for education. During the 2004 election campaign you promised $5 million for a school greenhouse reduction program. It now seems that this promise was unfunded, with no money for it in the last budget. As the