Page 2920 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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a series of measures to genuinely move forward towards enhancing professionalism across its workforce.

The ESA has already conducted a number of workshops for front-line ACTAS staff to engage in the blueprint process. The workshops have been used to provide a neutral forum where staff have the opportunity to discuss and contribute ideas towards progressing the blueprint for change recommendations. The budget also provides new funding to help mitigate the risk of bushfires through the TAMS directorate. In addition the government will also meet an increase in workers compensation premiums in this budget.

A feasibility study will be conducted by the ESA into potential new sites to replace the existing backup communications centre at Curtin. The government will raise an additional $6.2 million in fire and emergency services levy over the next four years, and this will be distributed over residential and rural properties. The estimated increase as a result of this initiative in future years will be around $40, as I understand it, per household.

The government is transitioning the ESA to a more sustainable funding model so that by 2018-19 the fire and emergency services levy and other emergency services charges will account for approximately 75 to 80 per cent of the total cost of delivering emergency services to the Canberra community, which is the standard used by other jurisdictions across Australia. The increase in this levy is to help meet the increasing demand in the territory for fire and ambulance services.

It is absolutely necessary yet again to place on the public record that the commonwealth government, the Tony Abbott Liberal government, now is refusing to pay the true cost of delivering fire services to its assets in the territory and the Canberra Liberals have remained surprisingly silent on this issue. They do not like the rise but they are remaining surprisingly silent on this issue.

Mr Smyth: That is not true.

MS BURCH: If this is not true, Mr Smyth, I am more than happy to bring into this place a motion that asks this entire Assembly to write to the federal Liberal Party and ask them to pay their fair share. I will be interested to see how those opposite will respond. One of the main reasons for increasing the fire and emergency services levy is to meet the shortfall in the commonwealth’s fire payments.

As I mentioned earlier, the ACT government is committed to ensuring a safer community. This includes providing ACT Policing with the resources they need. The ACT government has a longstanding commitment to increasing the operational capacity of ACT Policing. This is demonstrated by funding for an additional 136 full-time equivalents provided over the period from 2006 to 2016.

The funding provided has directly contributed to this community’s safety and we are seeing a downward trend in reported and committed crimes. We live in one of the safest communities in this country, and that is due to the investment this government has put into ACT Policing. The continued strong performance of ACT Policing to reduce crime in the community—(Second speaking period taken.)

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