Emergency Services Funding
New paramedics, ambulances, support staff and funding for a Charnwood station have been announced for the territory's ambulance service, while budget figures show the service is failing to meet response time targets.
The government has committed $9.5million for 15 new frontline ambulance staff and two new intensive care ambulances.
The ambulance service, which was a big winner from last year's budget, will also benefit from a new $21.3million station in Charnwood, which it will share with ACT Fire and Rescue.
Plans for the Charnwood station were announced as part of the major station relocation process late last year.
The new funding will help address significant resourcing issues that have been identified with the service, particularly in the problem area of west Belconnen, and will help to address below par response times.
But paramedics have previously said that to cope with current demand, the service would need five new ambulances with corresponding staff, enough to have two ambulances working 24 hours a day.
The budget papers show that response times are lagging behind government targets, with higher priority cases 1.3 minutes over the target of eight minutes on average, and lower priority cases 2.4 minutes over the target response time of 12.5 minutes.
There has been little announced for ACT Fire and Rescue, and only one new support officer for the ACT Ambulance Service, despite pleas from the ambulance union for more communications staff.
More than has $770,000 has been made available over four years to back up and support the triple-0 communications systems.
Serious concerns about backup plans for the triple-0 systems were identified during last year's move of the communications centre from Curtin to the new Emergency Services Agency headquarters in Fairbairn.
Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell said the funding was not in response to those problems. He said it would allow the upgrade of the current telephony infrastructure and the strengthening of dedicated backup communications centre infrastructure.
A total of $3.8million over four years was made available for new cardiac monitoring and defibrillator equipment for the territory's ambulance fleet, $2.69million for the replacement costs and $1.1million for recurrent spending.
Further concept and design studies for the station relocation project were also announced, which will build new stations and upgrade existing facilities to cope with population growth.
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