Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria)– Regardless of a government’s political stripe, each and every Victorian demands and deserves the right to feel safe in their community. It is incumbent upon a government to ensure that emergency service and law enforcement organisations are capable of keeping all Victorians safe, whether it is our police force that enforces our laws to achieve social cohesion, our ambulance service responding to life-threatening emergencies or our firefighters who protect us from fire and emergency events.
What Victorians have seen during the tenure of this government is a government that simply refuses to put the safety of Victorians first and to properly fund our police and emergency services. Last week Victorians learnt that under this government just 25 per cent of ambulance services in rural and regional Victoria have been meeting the 15-minute target for responding to code 1 emergencies.
Last year Victorians were told by this government that even though we live in one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world, our Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigade firefighters will have $65 million cut from their budget, with more cuts to come in this budget. Before the 2010 state election the people of Geelong were told that they needed 70 additional police officers and that a Liberal government would deliver them. More than two and a half years later this Liberal government has not fielded even half of the 70 promised police officers.
The impacts of these cuts are clear for all to see: higher crime rates, longer waits for ambulances, longer waits in hospital emergency rooms and second-hand equipment for our firefighters. Victorians certainly deserve much better than this.