ACT Labor to further strengthen ACT emergency services

We all share a sense of pride in our city. ACT Labor continues to invest in Canberra to make it an even better place to live, work, study and play.   We are working hard to improve our high standard of living and ensure our city continues to thrive with more jobs and more services than ever before.

ACT Labor intends to continue to substantially invest in the ACT’s emergency services by creating more fire-fighter jobs and delivering more emergency service stations to respond to the ACT’s growing population.

The ACT has significantly changed since many of the locations and sites of emergency services were originally planned and developed in the past 40 years.  Canberra’s population is now markedly different and will continue to significantly change over the coming decades, posing challenges for the capacity of emergency services to save lives and property.

We have already started work on a new joint fire and ambulance station for West Belconnen at Charnwood. This project marks the first stage of the ACT Government Station Relocation Strategy, which will make our city even safer.

It was ACT Labor who rolled out Community Fire Units in the suburbs, and boosted capacity of our ambulance service with an additional 86 extra officers since 2007.

For the first time all of the ACT’s emergency services personnel – ACT Fire and Rescue, ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Rural Fire Service and ACT State Emergency Service – are located in a single headquarters building including communications centre personnel and administrative staff.  This state-of-the-art facility also enables greater emergency coordination and immediate response and communication with the public in the case of a natural disaster or major incident.

But there is more to do.

If re-elected in 2012, ACT Labor will invest nearly $44 million to build new emergency services stations at Aranda and Calwell/Conder.

ACT Labor will also invest more than $4 million to employ an additional six firefighters to respond to complex and dangerous situations. This investment will ensure our emergency services capacity grows to match our growing population and provide the best and most responsive emergency services.

 

Policy Costings

 

ACT Labor’s plan to further strengthen ACT emergency services capacity

Additional six fire fighters

 

2013-14

$

2014-15

$

2015-16

$

2016-17

$

TOTAL

Recurrent cost

978,000

1,007,000

1,036,000

1,066,000

4,087,000

 

Additional ESA stations

Aranda

2013-14

$

2014-15

$

2015-16

$

2016-17

$

TOTAL

$

Recurrent funding*

35,000

36,000

65,322

627,255

763,577

Capital***

658,809

14,125,541

9,132,176

-

23,916,526

 

Calwell/Conder

2013-14

$

2014-15

$

2015-16

$

2016-17

$

TOTAL

$

Recurrent funding

35,000

36,000

90,952

421,058

583,010

Capital

499,194

10,578,497

4,877,243

-

15,954,934

 

Project Management

2013-14

$m

2014-15

$m

2015-16

$m

2016-17

$m

TOTAL

$m

Capital

-

1,341,000

1,360,000

-

2,701,000

 

Total combined

2013-14

$m

2014-15

$m

2015-16

$m

2016-17

$m

TOTAL

$m

Recurrent funding*

70,000

72,000

156,274

1,048,313

1,346,587

Capital***

1,158,003

26,045,038

15,369,419

-

42,572,460

*Recurrent costs include maintenance, operational cost, support cost and ICT on-going costs, but excludes depreciation.

***Capital costs include design, procurement cost, construction, insurance, environmental sustainable design, escalation, other equipment, ICT costs and relocation costs. Capital costs include two years of capitalised project management staff (team of 7.9FTE) currently funded to the end of 2013-14.

How ACT Labor will strengthen emergency services in our community?

ACT Labor is committed to ensuring the city grows to maintain appropriate state-of-the-art emergency services for all Canberrans.

We will continue to work to deliver emergency services stations for a growing city, as well as committing to additional fire fighters to significantly improve emergency services chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear response capacity.

Additional fire-fighters

ACT Labor will commit to six additional fire-fighters to significantly boost ACT Fire and Rescue’s Platform on Demand (PODS) capability.

This commitment will enable ACT Fire and Rescue to strengthen the crewing capability of the POD trucks, providing the ability to respond to complex and dangerous incidents with specialised equipment.  It will improve operational capacity, especially for incident management, welfare/rehabilitation and other support functions for ambulance, SES, the RFS and ACT Fire and Rescue.

New and upgraded stations

ACT Labor will commit to building new stations at Aranda and Calwell/Conder, completing the first phase of its relocation strategy.

Subject to the completion of community consultation and statutory planning processes, the Aranda ambulance and fire station will be built on Bindubi Street, near the corner of Belconnen Way, replacing the two old stations on Lathlain Street in Belconnen town centre, which no longer meet the operational requirements of ambulance and fire services.

In Tuggeranong, a new fire station will be built at the intersection of Tharwa Drive and Drakeford, replacing the existing fire station on the corner of Reed and Scollay Streets, Greenway. Again, this will be subject to the satisfactory completion of community consultation and statutory planning processes.

Building these two new stations will create additional construction jobs in the ACT with approximately 100 people to be employed across the various trades during full construction works.  This work will provide a range of sustainable outcomes in accordance with the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010.  The provision of new facilities for ACT Emergency Services are important to ensure that Canberrans will have access to rapid response emergency services and new station locations will better service the needs and expectations of the ACT community.

What work have we already done to plan for more emergency services in our community?

The ACT Labor Government has commissioned extensive analysis on where ambulance and fire stations should be located in the Territory for at least the next 20 years. The analysis has provided the ACT Government with the optimum locations to achieve nationally agreed benchmarks for response times and coverage as the ACT grows geographically and in population.

The first phase of the strategy involves the construction of three new stations at Charnwood, Aranda and in Calwell/Conder, on the intersection of Drakeford and Tharwa Drive.

ACT Labor has already committed to the construction of a new combined ambulance and fire station in Charnwood.  Subsequent phases propose major upgrades for the combined ambulance and fire station at Fyshwick, the fire station at Kambah, the combined ambulance and fire station at Phillip, a new fire station at Campbell, a new ambulance station in the City, a new combined ambulance and fire station at Molonglo, upgrades to the rural fire station at Majura and ambulance station at Greenway and a new state emergency service base in Tuggeranong.

Improving our front line resources

As part of the ACT Labor Government’s commitment to protecting our community and increasing its capacity to respond to emergency fire and rescue situations, the Government has recently funded an improved facility for use as a front line service in managing bushfires, as well as improved personal protective clothing and equipment and breathing apparatus.  We are committed to funding additional fire fighters to boost the capability of operating the ACT’s Platform on Demand containers.

The ACT Fire and Rescue currently has 11 Platforms on Demand (PODS) containers and two trucks to transport the PODS.  A POD is a high quality shipping container that can store or transport a wide range of material or equipment, including hazardous environment equipment and search and rescue equipment.

The PODS provide the ACT with capabilities in the area of search and rescue, command and control support, servicing and maintaining breathing apparatus, shelter, refreshment and the ability to monitor the welfare of staff who have been involved in protracted incidents.  They contain specialist equipment for use in supporting salvaging and decontaminating toxic environments and personnel following exposure to toxic agents, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

The PODS are transported by a tilt tray truck which requires a crew of two fire-fighters with the POD able to deliver the specific capability depending on the type of incident.  The POD is designed to be removable and interchangeable so that one POD can be quickly removed from a truck and replaced with another POD.

Transportation of specialist technical response equipment in rapidly deployable PODs has become widely accepted and is used both nationally and internationally.