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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2642..


MS GALLAGHER: I might take the question on notice. I am not aware of the information that is on the website. I know information is provided to parents of students with a disability in a number of ways. I will check out what is on the website for you and get back to the Assembly.

MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question that the minister might be able to answer. Minister, what support is available to parents so that they can assist in the education of children with specific needs-disabilities and learning disabilities? Are there programs in place so that there is early identification of children with developmental and learning disorders, so that the problems can be worked through as quickly as possible?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes. I am aware of a range of mechanisms, particularly at the school level, where parents can get involved and where, if there is a concern from the teacher or from the point of view of someone in the school about a child, that is identified and support is sought. Again, I will provide you with more information about how that is done. I know, from individual children that I am aware of, that there is a range of ways-and parental involvement is essential in ensuring that children who may have extra support needs, or who have an identified disability, are supported appropriately at school.

Bushfires-warnings

MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. The ACT fire brigade began contingency planning on Thursday, 16 January and 17 January 2003 in case the bushfires hit Canberra the following weekend. I understand that that process began after the cabinet was briefed on the 16th.

On Friday, 17 January 2003, leave for every member of the fire brigade was cancelled for the following weekend so that the ACT fire brigade would be ready for when the fires reached urban Canberra that weekend. A couple of reserve pumpers were called up so that the ACT fire brigade would be at maximum strength, given that it was likely that the fires would reach the urban edge. Fire brigade officers checked fire hydrants on the urban edge of Canberra, most notably on Eucumbene Drive in Duffy.

Minister, what advice did you receive on 16 and 17 January 2003 from the ACT fire brigade about the preparations for when the fires hit Canberra that weekend?

MR WOOD: I have said here that I attended meetings in all that period. I heard all the arrangements being made as each day was planned-going back Saturday, Sunday and Monday of that week through to Thursday and Friday of that week-and as all the operational people went out and attacked the fire with all the resources they could muster. As to the precise details, you should understand that, while I attended those meetings, the minister does not have an operational role. My role was one of interest and support and attending to what was happening. That is the role of the minister.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Thank you, Minister. Did you brief Mr Stanhope on 17 January 2003 about the preparations the ACT fire brigade was making?


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