I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Emergency Services a question about South Australian Ambulance Service recruitment.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have been contacted by some constituents who are concerned about the recruitment process of the SAAS. These constituents completed their Flinders University training in 2004. A number of them were declared fit for physicals last year, while students. Not surprisingly, the physical includes managing things such as lifting a certain amount of weight and holding sit-ups. When undergoing the physical to apply for the SAAS, students have found that they mysteriously have not passed, even if they have scored the same result as the previous year when they were declared fit.
These were for things such as not holding a sit-up for two minutes or failing weight tests, particularly for grip strength of less than one kilogram. The students have come away with the impression that failing the test is ‘a bit random’ and that ‘it seems like the SAAS is finding anything to reject potential entrants’. These graduates are also aware that there was under recruitment in the previous year. When they apply, they are not allowed to know the benchmarks for fitness and, in successive applications, additional criteria have been added to the test. My questions are:
1. How many times has the application process been changed in the last two years?
2. Why are potential recruits being refused information about benchmarks so that they can at least work towards being declared fit and gaining employment?
3. How does this practice of the SAAS enhance the recruitment process?
4. Is the difficulty with the application process simply a rationing mechanism to reduce the number of new entrants into the SAAS?
The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister for Emergency Services): I thank the honourable member for her question. I will refer her question to the Minister for Health in another place and bring back a response.