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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 837 ..

MR STEEL: Minister, why is it important to increase the number of women who work in emergency services?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Steel for his commitment to equality and for his supplementary question. I mentioned some of the reasons in my earlier answer. To put it another way, it is because this is 2018 and it is way beyond time for equality, in both representation and pay. It is important that government lead the way. It is also important for building a more responsive and effective service. As the ESA Commissioner said:

Embracing and harnessing the strengths that diversity and inclusion provide is fundamental to transitioning our emergency services into the future.

We have started, and I am pleased that there are role models amongst our emergency services. There is, of course, the Chief Police Office, Justine Saunders, and also Georgeina Whelan, the first women to head our SES. But we know there is more to do.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how is the government performing against the strategy the minister has previously outlined?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. As I have noted, we have some way to go to improve the number of women in emergency services but we have made a start. My advice is that prior to 2016 there were only six women in the ACT Fire & Rescue ranks. Last year saw four female recruits come through, and the aim for the next recruitment round is for females to make up 50 per cent of recruits. And we are aiming to support more women into leadership roles. This work will continue, and I look forward to continuing progress in this area.

Government—Seniors Week

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Veterans and Seniors. Can the Minister please update the Assembly on how Canberra celebrated Seniors Week last week?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. I am very pleased to update the Assembly on the events of Seniors Week last week. There was certainly a packed program funded by the ACT government and run by COTA ACT. We saw events each day of the week, including the two Chief Minister’s concerts on Tuesday, the Chief Minister’s gold awards on Wednesday, the seniors expo at EPIC on Thursday, positive ageing awards on Friday, and many more events as well. It was a week full of celebrations and events for our older Canberrans, with some of our best educated, longest lived, healthiest and most engaged people in the country.

As part of the week, the government also continued its work to develop Canberra as an age-friendly city. As part of this, we launched the age-friendly seniors survey to gather the views of our senior Canberrans on how we can best achieve this. Surveys were handed out at the concert and at the expo. They were also available in hard copy from my office or online through the your say website. The information that we gather from the survey will help my Ministerial Advisory Council on the Ageing and the ACT government on the future work in this space.

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