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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 307..


Bushfires-insurance for firefighters

MR WOOD: As an interim response to Mr Smyth-I am not sure if I am answering all the questions he asked-under the Bushfire Act 1936, the Emergency Management Act 1999 and the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act, all volunteers have indemnity cover. On the basis of that advice, I must accept that they are covered. No workers compensation claims were made during the period 1 October 2003 to 24 December 2003, as I am advised. I am being cautious about this, Mr Smyth. You raised the issue, so you will understand my caution.

In relation to the community fire units, I am further advised that volunteers were recognised as having indemnity cover. However, some concerns were raised by the Auditor-General's report and the Government Solicitor about the extent of the cover, so an interim government guarantee was signed on 24 December 2003. My memory was a bit vague on that because I was off duty at that time. Mr Smyth, if you want me to follow up other questions, please come back to me.

Ministerial responsibility

MS GALLAGHER: Early in question time today, responding to Mrs Burke's question about when I was first notified-it related to the first brief I received on 11 December-I incorrectly said that the chief executive met with Heather McGregor on 10 December. For the record, it was the director of Family Services, Ms Sue Birtles, who met with Heather McGregor on that day.

Child protection

MS GALLAGHER: Also, on Tuesday during question time, Mr Stefaniak asked me when I first became aware of the Community Advocate's reporting on the Refocus program. I was first made aware of the Refocus program in an incoming brief on matters concerning the coronial inquest. It included statements that the director had provided evidence at that inquest that a number of important quality assurance mechanisms had been introduced. I have not been provided with information from the Community Advocate about her views on the Refocus program but, through departmental briefings, I was advised that she was supportive of the reforms, as can be read in her evidence to the inquiry into the rights, interests and wellbeing of children and young people.

Answer to question on notice

Question No 1180

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, question No 1180 is overdue-it was due on 10 January. It was originally asked of the Chief Minister, as the minister responsible for bushfire recovery, because of claims to funding that was allocated there for a counselling service. That was redirected, so on Tuesday the question was redirected to the Health Minister. It is my understanding that there is no additional time to answer a question just because it is redirected. The original question was asked on 11 December. When will I receive an answer to this question, given that it is now 12 February?


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