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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3517..


Questions without notice

Policing-fatal accident

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Yesterday morning, Canberra suffered another fatal accident following a police pursuit in Woden. We, the opposition, extend our sympathies to the family of the victims and the police officers involved. Can you provide the Assembly with an outline of the events leading up to the accident?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the question. This is a tragic incident, with the loss of an innocent citizen in this accident. The full cause and circumstances leading up to the accident will properly be determined through the coronial inquiry process. That is as it should be. I can only advise members what I have already advised the broader community through my comments in the various media outlets over the past 24 hours.

My understanding is that a pursuit was initiated on Callum Street, following police observation of a vehicle travelling at speed and in an erratic manner. Less than 30 seconds after that pursuit was initiated, the car that was being pursued collided with another vehicle after, apparently, running a red light. That has led, tragically, to the death of the elderly woman that has been reported in the paper.

That is my understanding of the events to date. That is what I have been advised by the police. The full particulars will be properly the matter of a coronial investigation.

MR STEFANIAK: Minister, what is the process that will be followed from here? When will you be able to advise the Assembly and the community on the details of what happened?

MR CORBELL: My understanding is that there are two particular processes in place. The first is the coroner. The Chief Coroner attended the scene yesterday and will be determining the processes which he and his colleague coroner, whoever is allocated this case, will undertake in relation to their inquiries. The report will be prepared for the coroner by the police. The second process is a police internal standards investigation, as is normal in these cases. That investigation will be overseen by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will need to tick off on that investigation.

The time frames for each of those are matters for the entities involved. The government is not in a position to set the time frames in relation to those matters. It would be very preferable if the coronial process were undertaken in as timely a manner as possible, given the public interest in this case. But that is entirely a matter for the Chief Coroner.

Griffith library

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, you said yesterday in relation to the report into ACT library services that not all of the recommendations had been accepted or totally considered yet. These recommendations include a charge of $1 for half-hour internet access, a reduction in


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