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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2341..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

unimproved value information to be disclosed to the public. Mr Speaker, I commend the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2) to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Emergencies Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 14 May 2004, on motion by Mr Wood:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR PRATT (5.13): Mr Deputy Speaker, the opposition supports the Emergencies Bill 2004. We will expedite the passage of this bill today through our role here. After all, there is little time left to allow mobilisation of the ACT's emergency management system after this bill has been introduced. There is little time between now and the coming fire season.

Be that as it may, the bill is quite a good bill. It is certainly a vast improvement on what the ACT governments have had successively for some time. I do congratulate the professionals who have advised the government and I congratulate the emergencies community for their contributions to both the drafting of the bill and to the general debate and discussions on the bill and the emergency management system. Clearly, the management system needed to be shaken up. I think now that the morale of the emergency services workers and senior officers must improve with the passage of this bill and I think that is a very, very good outcome, but it has been a long time coming.

The consultation process and the development of ideas, plans and finally the legislation have been a welcome change to what was the case beforehand. The consultation has been wide and it has been transparent. However, the time allowed to examine the legislation per se has been pitifully small: only five weeks for what is a very complex and detailed piece of legislation-and it needs to be complex and detailed-that, by its very nature, is expected to define-let's not be pithy about this-life and death issues and the very important roles and responsibilities of people from the most senior levels, from the minister down to the volunteer. In many cases, these roles also involve life and death issues.

I have therefore been quite dissatisfied with the amount of time left to examine such an important piece of legislation, including a timeframe for examination that ran concurrently with the budget and the consequential estimates program, at the busiest time of the year for everybody, including emergency workers, professional officers and MLAs. That was the time we have had in which to examine what is a very important bill.

As I say, Mr Deputy Speaker, it is quite a good bill but I must comment on the fragmented nature of some of its components. I do appreciate the difficulty of tying down the various principles that underpin the emergency management system and why, therefore, some of those components will be fragmented across the bill. That cannot be helped. However, sometimes you have to go chasing around to put together the pieces to determine what are going to be very important pieces of governance. I guess that sentiment is behind the amendments that we are moving today: knowing that these


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