Page 2873 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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MS BURCH: The ESA executive team are committed to working with the commissioner to implement the reform agenda in an open, transparent and consultative way. To ensure this and to inform the direction of the reform agenda, an internal communications strategy has been developed and implemented. The key objective of the SRA communications strategy is to ensure that all staff, volunteers and government and non-government stakeholders have access to timely and accurate information about the SRA and are provided with opportunities for feedback and to ask questions.

Since the launch of the SRA in March this year, these consultative processes have taken place: 24 consultative forums and workshops; four cafe-style “bring-your-own-coffee-along” updates and question sessions; 21 visits to front-line services; and union consultative meetings. The ESA commissioner has also discussed these reforms with ESA volunteers on seven occasions, including during a meeting that I attended with volunteer groups in June this year.

I have also personally made many visits to our stations. At these visits I have had an opportunity to talk with members of Fire & Rescue, the Ambulance Service, SES and rural fire to hear from some of our front-line workforce their thoughts on the reform agenda. It has been good to see how engaged they are in the process and their interest in this process. I encourage them to contribute to the reform, because it is significant for them. The commissioner and the chief officers recognise that without the support of their workforce the reform agenda will be slow.

It is a great opportunity for me to be able to say here that there is absolute commitment to support the men and women in our emergency services to work through this reform agenda. I would like to take the opportunity to put on record my thanks and appreciation to all the men and women in our emergency services and acknowledge the work they do.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, what are some of the key objectives of the reform agenda across the ESA, and how will the ESA be reporting on these reforms?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her question. The ESA currently has some of the fastest response times in the country, which is something this community should be proud of. It provides a service that is second to none. We as a Canberra community are well served by our emergency services and this reform agenda paves the way for the ESA to best position itself to meet future challenges as this city grows.

The reform package draws on advice and recommendations that have flowed from a number of workshops, reviews, reports and audits. The strategic reform agenda sets out key priority areas that will see a realigned ESA structure, a new corporate and strategic plan, setting absolutely the highest standards in service delivery, investment in leadership and people management, and rigorous decision making.

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