Page 1560 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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the people that we care about. We know that working in emergency services is tough but rewarding work and hiring and retaining staff to keep our rosters filled is a vital challenge faced by all emergency service agencies around the country. Having worked shiftwork for 11 years, Madam Speaker, as you have too, we understand the needs around rostering in this area.

Alongside the recruit college, ACT Fire & Rescue is also currently undertaking a recruitment round for additional firefighters who already have qualifications and experience from other states and territories in Australia. Together, these recruitment initiatives will result in an injection of talented, committed individuals to our fire and rescue service.

MS CODY: Can the minister give some more information on how the women in emergency services strategy is being implemented via recruitment?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Cody for her supplementary question. The government is committed to building an emergency services workforce that reflects the diversity of our community and that has an inclusive culture that respects and supports all of its members.

As the Assembly is aware, the government committed in November 2015 to the women in emergency services strategy. I was very pleased to see Ms Cody join me today for the announcement out at our ESA training headquarters in Hume. The strategy was developed in consultation with our emergency services staff and key stakeholders with the intention to create an ACT emergency services agency that is inclusive, diverse and supports all staff to thrive.

Recruiting, retaining and developing more women in our emergency services are key actions to achieve that goal. We know that diversity and inclusion result in better decision-making and better outcomes. This is no different for emergency services. Diverse and inclusive workplaces improve our understanding of our different needs, vulnerabilities, interests, capabilities and contributions of people within our community.

I am pleased to confirm that we will once again focus on attracting more women to apply for positions open in the ACT Fire & Rescue recruit college. Up to half of the 16 positions will be set aside for female recruits who meet the required entry qualifications and standards. This follows the employment of four female firefighters under the same arrangements in the most recent recruitment process in 2016. This practical measure will encourage and support women to pursue careers in emergency services and contribute their skills to keeping our community safe.

Our message is that women and men alike can and do thrive in our emergency services. By reflecting the diversity of the Canberra community we are ensuring the success of these organisations into the future.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, could you provide an overview of the selection process and training for our urban firefighters?

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