Page 407 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her question. The objectives identified in the women in emergency services strategy project highlighted opportunities around the ESA’s ongoing commitment to a respectful and equitable workforce, as well as a need to focus on achieving and maintaining appropriate standards to support a diverse range of employees.

Complementing the station upgrade and relocation program being undertaken by the ESA, and in alignment with the strategy’s objectives, the JACS Directorate undertook a review of the ESA facilities, considering improvements which will better support the employment of women.

Staff from across the directorate, including representatives from ACT Fire & Rescue and the UFU, came together as a working group in November last year and reviewed the fire stations across the territory, with an initial focus on the upgrade of ESA facilities to support personal dignity and privacy.

This working group provided recommendations to meet the objectives of the project. I look forward to working across all agencies in our emergency services to make sure that we promote them and do our best to get more women across our services.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how does the strategy fit into the growth and renewal of the ESA, with the south Tuggeranong fire station set to open next month and work to commence shortly on the new Aranda station in my electorate?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. In addition to supporting women, it is also about making sure we have the bricks and mortar in place. In relation to what the government has done in terms of strengthening the emergency services infrastructure, I can advise the Assembly that phase 1 of the station upgrade relocation will be completed when the co-located Fire & Rescue ambulance station at Aranda is complete and becomes operational early next year. Construction of this important project is expected to commence in March this year. In addition, the government is expecting the completion of the south Tuggeranong Fire & Rescue station. That is due for completion within the next month or so, and I look forward to inviting community members of south Tuggeranong and Lanyon to come and visit that fabulous new station on an open day.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, what are the next steps in the growth and renewal of the ESA in the ACT, particularly for attracting more women into the ESA?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her question. The women in emergency services strategy recognises that, to attract, recruit and retain more women in the ESA, the agency must be committed to addressing the barriers that come with identifying as a male-dominated workplace, including gender bias—a term which is used to describe treating everyone in the same way as if their gender or cultural background does not count in an organisation, policy or process.

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