Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services) (12:28): I rise to update the house on the progress that the Andrews Labor government is making through our investment in our ambulance services. Our government is continuing to support our ambulance services, with nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of investment made during our first term. Since I was appointed the Minister for Ambulance Services one of the greatest pleasures of my new role has been in fact to visit numerous ambulance branches right across Victoria, both here in Melbourne and also particularly in regional Victoria, and sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat with our dedicated paramedics. Their dedication and commitment to their local communities is unwavering. That is why our government has delivered on its commitment to recruit 450 new paramedics and continues to deliver new ambulance branches across Victoria.
I have also been pleased this year to turn the sod or inspect the construction of new ambulance branches in Bacchus Marsh, Terang and Winchelsea and more recently to officially open our state’s newest branches in Diamond Creek and Preston. In Winchelsea the new branch will be the first in the town’s history, and the new branches in Bacchus Marsh, Terang and Preston will replace buildings up to 50 years old, giving our hardworking paramedics modern and state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities.
Our government is also sending a strong message to the community through our public awareness campaign that violence and aggression towards paramedics is never okay. Hopefully that is a bit of an advertising spend that those opposite might support.
I can inform the house that the latest Ambulance Victoria performance data released today shows our code 1 ambulances are arriving to critical patients quicker than ever before in Ambulance Victoria’s history. For the latest March quarter 84.2 per cent of ambulances arrived within the benchmark 15 minutes. That is 2 minutes and 50 seconds better than the previous Liberal government’s final March quarter. Under the Liberals, when Georgie Crozier was the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, ambulance response times blew out to be the worst on the Australian mainland, putting Victorian patients at risk.
The Andrews Labor government will always back our paramedics, and we will continue to work with them to keep improving ambulance response times so that Victorians can get the care and the treatment they need when they need it.