Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3295 ..
recommendations in that report across the board. But it is very disappointing and it is very frustrating when there are tripartisan recommendations to the Assembly and the government dismisses them by saying “We’ll look at that; noted in principle.”
We will continue to hold the government to account on these important issues. As I said at the beginning of my speech, sadly, we are seeing deterioration across the board when it comes to keeping our community safe. It could be to do with bail, outlaw motorcycle gangs or a number of the very disturbing statistics that were the subject of Mrs Jones’s question without notice in the Assembly today with regard to assaults and so on. So you need to do a lot better.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (6.23): I rise tonight to briefly speak about the emergency services, ACT Policing and the AMC. In the interests of time I will try to do it as quickly as possible.
I would like to put on notice that as part of the budget process we still do not have a time line for when the Bronto aerial pumper appliance will be available. We need some more information on that, given that the current Bronto has been out of action for 48 days since 1 July 2016 and not able to be used. We probably have situations where it is required and still cannot be used.
I also note that I am pleased to see that the government has agreed to the estimates recommendation that portaloos be available to firefighters wherever possible under circumstances where they are fighting fires for numbers of hours at a time. As people in this place well know, it is a basic requirement that we can fulfil people’s workplace requirements and that we should and can have portaloos available, particularly for women and their sanitary needs.
I note the answers from the Minister for Police and Emergency Services to estimates questions regarding operational staff. Perhaps we need to find new terminology, given that he has stretched the definition of “operational staff” to meaning everybody who works for the ESA. I think we can do better than that and be very clear about how many people put on a uniform and go out and fight fires compared to people who manage support roles and run the system back at the office.
I want to put on record the great work that our police and emergency services do. It is very demanding work. People suffer from their work in this field. People put themselves and their bodies on the line, and we need to continue to do more to support them.
On ACT Policing, I think the government knows the points that I have made about both this budget and previous budgets. If we simply go back over the past few years, we have seen inflation well outstrip the very minuscule increases to the ACT Policing contract. I think it behoves us to pay better attention to that, as the police clearly state to me that they are having to go for younger and younger and less and less experienced officers to do the same work. Yes, people go in and out of the federal AFP, and that is not always a bad thing. However, more needs to be done, given the rise in the population which we debated in this place today.