Page 2918 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015
MR RATTENBURY: On the issue of corrections officers being tested, my primary focus has been dealing with the change to the drug-testing regime in the jail. I think there is a broader policy discussion about why we would want to test corrections officers and what the purpose of that is. I would be happy to, again, have further discussions with members to articulate the policy drivers behind that idea.
I welcome the positive comments on through-care. It is very encouraging that the early signs of it are very good. The statistics look very promising and the feedback is particularly good. I think the most important piece of feedback is that detainees are choosing to go into through-care. Even the ones that are not on orders are actually choosing to go into the program and remain connected to Corrective Services. I think that speaks volumes for through-care, and I hope that program continues to be successful. Evaluation of that will be important to make sure we keep improving it and getting the best possible outcomes.
Sitting suspended from 6.01 to 7.30 pm.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (7.30): As Minister for Police and Emergency Services, I am pleased to support this budget—a budget that is for Canberra and a budget that reflects the government’s continued commitment to community safety and security. This is demonstrated by total funding of over $268 million for police and emergency services in 2015-16.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MS BURCH: It is quite extraordinary that Mr Hanson is laughing about an investment of $268 million for police and emergency services.
For the ACT Emergency Services Agency—the ESA—the 2015-16 budget contains a number of new ESA initiatives to ensure that our front-line personnel are well equipped to continue protecting life, property and the environment of the territory. This year’s budget includes an additional $37.9 million for the ESA over the budget cycle.
We are committed to boosting the frontline. An additional $32.6 million will be provided to support front-line services, including over $15 million in extra funding for the ESA to maintain the quality and effectiveness of its services. There is over $14 million over three years for the upgrade of the territory radio network. This funding will enable necessary upgrades of the infrastructure, radio and terminal equipment. This essential network is used by the ESA and other government agencies to communicate, particularly during emergencies.
There is over $900,000 in this budget to replace the ESA’s direct turnout system, which notifies emergency crews of requests for assistance to ensure that emergency services continue to respond to events in a timely manner. $1.2 million in this budget is provided for an ambulance station upgrade at Greenway, in my electorate of