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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3689..


MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. I am very disappointed by the decision of the VBA to reject the compromise position put by the ESA and I note that Mr Barling in his letter thanks my chief executive and officers of the government solicitor's office for their genuine commitment to listen to volunteers' concerns. I think he goes on to state that it was "refreshing"to hear concerns in a genuine way, so I thank him for those comments.

But I am disappointed by the VBA's decision. The reason for that is that the government had put forward a proposal that addresses our concerns and, I believe, addresses volunteers' concerns. The volunteers' concerns are that they have control over how the money is spent and that they have control over how the money is managed. The proposition put by ESA to the volunteers was this: the money would go into individual trust accounts for each individual brigade and unit, the only signatories of those trust accounts would be the brigade or unit treasurers and they would continue to have access to that money from their local bank branches. That was the proposition—their accounts, their signatures and their controls, but in an account that was a territory trust account.

It was entirely possible and feasible—and what was proposed and offered to volunteers was—that they each had an individual account at their local commonwealth bank branch, they would be the signatories to that account, they would be responsible for depositing money into that account and taking money out of that account, they would be the only signatories of that account and they would exercise the control of it. That would seem to me to completely satisfy volunteers' concerns in terms of control, in terms of access and in terms of day-to-day responsibility. I think that was a very reasonable proposition put by my department and I am disappointed that volunteers have taken this decision to reject that compromise.

Unfortunately, I am not going to agree to the proposition that there should be legislation to exempt volunteers from the requirements of the Financial Management Act in this regard. I think what we have put in place is entirely reasonable and I will be asking the volunteers to reconsider their position and to sit down and talk these issues through further. That is how I intend to progress this, in the hope that we can get agreement on this, because one side or the other just standing off and saying, "We don't agree"is not going to work. We need to sit down and talk it through—and that is what I am committed to do.

Emergency services—volunteer brigade funds

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (3.06): I seek leave to suspend standing order 137.

Leave not granted.

Suspension of standing orders

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.06): I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Pratt from moving a motion to suspend standing order 137 to rescind the resolution of the


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