Page 406 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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MS BURCH: The ACT Emergency Services Agency is undergoing a process of reform. This has been underpinned by a number of ongoing reviews of the organisation, such as the ESA expenditure review that has been undertaken by the government to examine opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services in the agency in a financially sustainable way. A range of sub-reviews has also been undertaken, which includes the review of the current communication centre’s capability.

The ACT Ambulance Service cultural review has been undertaken. It focuses on organisational behavioural aspects of the Ambulance Service, including the characteristics necessary to continue to ensure commitment to change and to service growth. I understand that the final report is being finalised. I expect this to be provided to me shortly.

As you are aware, the government has significantly invested in the Ambulance Service since 2011, which has resulted in the ACT Ambulance Service having equal fastest response at the capital city 50th percentile and the fastest at the capital city 90th percentile, according to the 2015 Report on Government Services. This means that ambulance code 1 response times have reduced to 8.2 minutes in 2015 from 8.7 minutes in 2014. In addition, the 2014 Lennox review released in July of last year was highly complementary of the progress made by ACTAS in all areas identified for attention in his initial 2010 review.

The women in emergency services strategy has also been progressing well, with a number of reviews and activities undertaken through this project. They include examining issues around ESA operational facilities and areas for improvement which will better support personal dignity and privacy for women.

Fire and Rescue NSW were invited by the ESA in January of this year to demonstrate the way their physical aptitude test is conducted in New South Wales. The New South Wales physical aptitude test has been developed to attempt, as closely as possible, to mirror the functional requirements of the role of a firefighter and at the same time focus on the physical requirements of the position in a manner that is independent of technique that in turn removes the potential for cultural or gender bias. These reviews will strengthen the capability and the effectiveness of the service across our services.

The government has also in recent years implemented a program of upgrading and building emergency services facilities to enable our ESA personnel to respond to emergency incidents more quickly and efficiently. The ESA headquarters, the ESA training centre, the SouthCare and RFS heli-bases and the new west Belconnen station are testament to what we do as a government to ensure that our emergency services are well equipped with world-class facilities that are ready to protect the ACT community from significant incidents and natural hazards.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, can you further update the Assembly about the women in emergency services strategy?

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