Possible job cuts, restructuring, and an end to free parking, coffee and tea will form part of an effort to glean savings from the territory's emergency services.
But Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Dominic Lane has pledged that the cost-cutting drive, announced on Friday, will not leave the ACT less protected, and would not affect the capabilities of firefighters, paramedics, or emergency workers.
The ESA wrote to all staff members on Friday, warning that the agency must reduce its costs to work within the ''constraints of a tight economic environment''.
Staff were warned that a number of initiatives designed to ''improve the cost of our operations'' would be put in place. Initially cuts would include paid parking and the provision tea, coffee and milk.
More significant changes to worker entitlements and work arrangements will also be considered.
The commissioner has warned that job cuts are possible, but would not involve a reduction in frontline staffing. He said a number of employees had expressed interest in redeployment or voluntary redundancy.
''I have also written to unions and affected staff about changes to duty officer arrangements to standardise the arrangements and match entitlements to operational requirements,'' Mr Lane wrote.
''This process will continue to look at how we can achieve efficiencies, remove any duplication of activity, make better use of our facilities and revise non-frontline staffing structures.''
Staff have been encouraged to contribute ideas to remove duplication or inefficiencies.
Mr Lane said he did not think the agency had been wasteful in its spending. But he said the ESA must find savings, along with other parts of the public sector, to meet budget initiatives set out in 2012-13.
''I think the decisions that have been made in the past have been made for the right reasons,'' he said.
''However, what we have to do here is come in on line with the government's announcement in terms of its budget.''
Friday's announcement came after talks with ambulance and firefighter unions on potential savings measures fell over.
The Transport Workers Union, which represents the ACT's paramedics, said it had proposed reducing duplication within the ambulance service's senior management. TWU official Ben Sweaney warned that ambulance officers would not accept any cuts that jeopardised frontline capacity.
''Officers won't tolerate, nor should the community accept, any savings that seek to reduce the capability or capacity of the ambulance service,'' Mr Sweaney said.
The push for budget savings comes after an ACT Treasury review into the finances of ESA was announced this week.
The United Firefighters Union said the ESA should wait until that Treasury review is finalised before embarking on the savings drive.
UFU ACT branch secretary David Livingstone said the true financial state of the agency was not yet known.
''Our commitment is about making sure as much of the public funds dedicated to emergency services go to the frontline as possible,'' Mr Livingstone said.
''The Treasury process is going to deliver evidence of what the finances actually look like, and that's what should guide any changes to workplace entitlements, including small stuff like tea, coffee, sugar and car parking,'' he said.