I rise to inform the house of the government’s continued investment in Victoria’s ambulance services. Earlier this month the first upgraded dual-crew service commenced in the northern Victorian town of Rochester. It means ambulances in Rochester will now respond to emergencies crewed by two life-saving paramedics. The Labor government is upgrading 15 single-crew stations into dual-crew stations across regional Victoria as part of a $109 million package committed to at the last election and fully funded in our most recent budget. As well as recruiting more paramedics, the investment includes upgrades to equipment and buildings to support locations running the upgraded dual-paramedic crews.
Ambulance community officers in Rochester will continue to play a vital role in their communities by supporting the transport of low-acuity patients to hospital, backing up our paramedics, responding to critical emergencies and assisting when they are unavailable. They will also play an important role in community engagement and education, with a focus on the GoodSAM and Heart Safe Community initiatives.
Thanks to our investment and our hardworking paramedics, ambulances are now arriving at our most critical patients faster than ever before. The latest data shows Victoria’s ambulances transported a massive 78 820 code 1 emergency patients in the three months to the end of December, 4513 more than a year earlier. Despite this extra demand, paramedics reached 82.5 per cent of code 1 cases within 15 minutes, in an average response time of 11 minutes and 29 seconds. That is nearly 2 minutes faster than under the previous coalition government, when just 74.1 per cent of ambulances arrived in 15 minutes. In Campaspe shire the ambulances are arriving nearly 2 minutes faster.
We know there is more work to do. That is why the Andrews Labor government will always back our ambulance service and paramedics. This contrasts hugely with the time when Ms Crozier was in charge and Mr Davis was in charge, when ambulance response times became the worst on the Australian mainland.