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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 379..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

the job of the commissioner and the chief officers. I will support them in their decisions.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the minister must come to the question. He cannot ignore you. He must answer the question about the detrimental effects of his restructure on the professional officers and volunteers.

MR SPEAKER: I think he is telling you that there is no detrimental effect.

MR CORBELL: I know that these decisions will be to the benefit of volunteers and all other staff in the Emergency Services Agency.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Is it not true that under the terms of engagement Mr Prince is constrained from making any public comment on the basis of his resignation while he is employed?

MR CORBELL: It sounds like another myth from the Liberal Party. I am not aware of the details of Mr Prince's contract. I do not see these contracts as a matter of course but I would be very surprised if that were the case.

Bushfires—coronial inquest

MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, Coroner Doogan has recommended that the emergency services bureau should be a statutory authority. You ignored her findings, instead restructuring the ESA. On ABC radio this morning, Val Jeffrey, a volunteer with over 50 years of valuable experience of bushfire management said regarding the restructure, "This is a recipe for another 2003 or worse."Minister, why haven't we learnt the lessons from the 2003 bushfire that the ESA should be a statutory authority?

MR CORBELL: Mr Jeffrey is a very excellent firefighter. He is not, though, a man with experience or significant understanding of the needs and demands of managing a large public sector organisation. I will respect Mr Jeffrey's views on firefighting and his experience in that regard. I ask that he respects the views of those professionals we engage to manage our emergency services.

MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, why have you ignored the recommendations of both Coroner Doogan and Mr McLeod on the matter of the ESA being a statutory authority?

MR CORBELL: I note that another recommendation that we have not accepted which is now drawing a critique from firefighters is the recommendation of the coroner to create a single fire service. The opposition cannot have it both ways. They cannot say, "You are ignoring the coroner on this recommendation,"but then go quietly into the night on a recommendation that they themselves do not agree with.

I would like the Liberal Party to stand up and tell me whether or not they agree with the coroner's recommendation on a single fire service. If they do, at least their position is consistent. At least they can say, "We support the coroner's recommendations."Instead, what they are doing is critiquing the government when


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