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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 979..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

As I have indicated previously, the cabinet was not left with any real feeling of anxiety around that as a potentiality.

If there was no real feeling of anxiety amongst the cabinet, what was the purpose of the briefing and who organised it?

MR STANHOPE: The briefing was arranged in order to allow members of the Emergency Services Bureau to brief members of the cabinet on the current situation in relation to the fires, which they did. The briefing was arranged by the minister for emergency services.

MR STEFANIAK: Why was a special briefing organised for Mr Wood and you on Monday 13 January, and for the cabinet on Thursday, if there was no concern or anxiety about the progress of the bushfires?

MR STANHOPE: The briefing on 13 January was arranged by my office. As I have previously informed members, I had been on leave until that day. It was my first day back at work after my Christmas break. I was aware of the fires. I had been out of touch for some time. Indeed, the fires commenced on 8 January, and I returned to work on 13 January. It was a matter of some moment and was certainly an issue.

The fires were very visible and I thought they were something important that I would be briefed on and have some understanding of. At my request my office arranged for me to be informed about the fires, and that briefing was arranged for me on the morning of the 13th-my first morning back at work after my Christmas break. It was simply to inform me of the nature and extent of the fires, acknowledging that I had not been at work at any stage since the fires commenced on 8 January.

Bushfires-updates

MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Following clear advice from Mr McRae of the risk management unit on Friday, 17 January 2003 at 6.00 pm that the bushfires would reach Duffy at 2000 hours the next day, what updates were you given on that evening regarding preparation for what was anticipated to be one of the worst periods for bushfires in the ACT's history?

MR STANHOPE: None.

MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question. Why didn't Mr Keady call you, given that he had received three phone calls that evening from the director of the Emergency Services Bureau?

MR STANHOPE: I think that it is probably necessary for us to wait for Mr Keady to give his evidence to the Coroners Court in relation to that. I have no idea why Mr Keady did or did not do anything on the evening of the Friday.

I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.


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