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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3307..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

year, with 500 of those being offered for sale this calendar year. If members look at the Canberra Times every Saturday, they will see pretty much a land ballot sale every weekend between now and Christmas. That highlights the fact that we have a comprehensive program in place, rolling out land supply to meet this increase in demand.

In addition to the provision of these new sites, we can estimate that the supply of new residential land, including in the developers and builders pipeline, now stands at 5,660 dwelling sites. This, combined with the land already available in Gungahlin and the new land releases, certainly should be sufficient to meet the increase in demand now projected for the ACT—strong results for the ACT economy, strong results in the property sector and results we will continue to support through a comprehensive and planned land release program.

Emergency services—vehicle fleet

MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, earlier this week you were asked to table the memo detailing the status of vehicles in the RFS fleet distributed to RFS captains and volunteers. Distributed with this memo were a number of tables. You refused. Minister, these tables set out the status of vehicles operated by the Rural Fire Service, their call signs, their registration, their vehicle location, their vehicle type, the date of manufacture, and their scheduled replacement date. This memo and these tables identify 54 vehicles, of which 23 now exceed the replacement age profile based on national standards and, of those 23 vehicles, 14 exceed the agreed lifespan by more than 25 per cent. Minister, why has the government allowed 40 per cent of the Rural Fire Service fleet to exceed the replacement age profile? What action did you take to rectify the issue of vehicle replacement when you became minister?

MR CORBELL: The provision of new vehicles to the RFS is a major priority for me. Since becoming minister, I have discussed the matter on a number of occasions with both the previous ESA commissioner and the current ESA commissioner and also with the chief officer of the Rural Fire Service. I have made inquiry myself as to why the ESA chose in the past, when it was an independent authority, not to dedicate more of its resources to RFS fleet replacement.

Of concern to me is the number of vehicles that are ageing and, as I have indicated in answer to previous questions today and in earlier question times, it is a matter that I am giving priority attention to. The most recent advice I have from the ESA on this matter highlights the fact that, just because a vehicle has reached a particular age, it does not mean that it is not suitable for use on the fire ground. It needs to undergo a rigorous assessment in terms of its mechanical preparedness to decide whether it is suitable to be deployed to the fire ground.

That is the process that the ESA is undertaking. Even if the vehicle is of a particular age, if it is mechanically sound and it meets the necessary safeguard requirements that the ESA has for the vehicle, there is no reason that it cannot be used on the fire ground. Mr Smyth would know that there are a number of vehicles available to the RFS which are certainly quite old but are still regarded by volunteers and the ESA management


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