18 January 2019

ACT to gain five ambulances and 30 paramedics as callouts jump by 54 per cent

| Glynis Quinlan
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ACT Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman announcing five new ambulances and 30 more paramedics for the ACT at Greenway Ambulance Station on Thursday. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT will gain five new ambulances and 30 more paramedics to help meet demand, with ambulance callouts increasing by 54.3 per cent in the past eight years.

ACT Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman has announced $15.7 million in funding for the ambulances and two new paramedic crews saying they will help Canberra to maintain the fastest ambulance response times in Australia.

He said that Canberra’s population growth and changes to the community’s age profile have seen steady growth in the number of Triple Zero calls to the ambulance service in recent years, with ambulance callouts rising from 35,000 in 2009-10 to 54,000 in 2017-18.

“Thirty new paramedics will progressively join ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) to fill the two new crews,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Five new state-of-the-art ambulances fitted with electronic stretchers, power loaders and brand new defibrillators will join the ACTAS fleet.”

Last August the Canberra Liberals attacked the Government over ambulance crewing numbers, with Opposition Whip Andrew Wall saying that, almost on a daily basis, there weren’t enough ambulances on ACT roads to service the community and meet the government’s minimum operational requirements.

At the time, Mr Gentleman committed to recruiting 24 additional staff and reviewing minimum crewing standards.

During his funding announcement on Thursday (January 17), Mr Gentleman said that more frontline staff and new equipment will help to meet the needs of the growing city.

“This adds to the 23 new paramedics and two new ambulances delivered in 2017-18 and shows the Government is continuing to invest in our core emergency services as Canberra grows.

“We also bolstered the ACTAS fleet in 2018, with five new ambulances replacing older vehicles and six more ambulances being fitted with electric stretchers and power loaders.”

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