The following Question Without Notice was asked by the Opposition Spokesperson for Emergency Services Mr Sean L’Estrange MLA and answered today in Parliament by the Premier Hon Mark McGowan MLA.


CORONAVIRUS — FRONTLINE EMERGENCY SERVICES

Mr S. L’ESTRANGE to the Premier:


Sponsor's message

If coronavirus results in emergency services frontline personnel being quarantined, including professional firefighters and ambulance paramedics, what is the state government’s plan to mitigate this impact and ensure that these essential services are maintained?

Mr M. McGOWAN replied:

I thank the member for the question. This morning we released the “Western Australian Government Pandemic Plan”, which details responses in a range of areas. Clearly, as I outlined to the house yesterday, as events develop and if people are required to self-isolate, agencies will look to bring people from non-frontline roles into frontline roles to deal with whatever issues are out there. But I do think that we need to plan. We need to be aware that those are the sorts of responses that we need to put in place, but I am confident that all Western Australians understand that this is a serious situation, and that we all need to work together to deal with what confronts us.

Mr S. L’ESTRANGE to the Premier:

I have a supplementary question.

Sponsor's message

Thank you, Premier. Page 5 of the “Western Australian Government Pandemic Plan” acknowledges the problem, but has the Premier or any of his ministers held meetings with the head of St John Ambulance WA and the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner to finalise a business continuity plan in the event that their employees are unable to deliver frontline emergency services?

Mr M. McGOWAN replied:

The Minister for Health has met with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the head of St John Ambulance WA. The Minister for Emergency Services has met with the commissioner for emergency services recently. Last week, I chaired a meeting of the security and emergency coordinating committee of cabinet, and, indeed, the commissioner for emergency services was there. I have met with the Commissioner of Police, and I had a long conversation with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Col Blanch, on Sunday about the ways of managing the situation.

Essentially, it is a difficult situation. What we need to do is make sure that we it with a calm and rational manner, whether it is rostering arrangements, whether it is bringing people from back-office functions into frontline areas; that is the way these things are managed when one of these crises hit. I am sure that the Western Australian public sector and Western Australian public understand that that is the way calm, responsible government operates, and that is the Western Australian spirit.

That is the Western Australian spirit to deal with these matters. We are a resilient people, and we are good people. This is the way that we respond to these crises. This is a serious matter. But Western Australia has been through a lot of crises in its time, and our people have risen to the challenge. I was thinking about it before. We have been through some dramatic economic and social events. We have been through wars in our time. We have risen to the challenge, and we will rise to this challenge and make sure that we deal with it in the Western Australian way, which is calm, considered, rational and responsible.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email